The problem with the term ‘technical metal’ is that it gets tarred and feathered with one of two things; either accusations of being staid and repetitive from when the genre boomed in the late 2000s; or getting labelled with the horrid five-letter word that I refuse to utter on this site, as though its meant to be wholly original and unique. So there you have it – I largely grew out of modern technical metal bands and those that did seemed to be becoming either a bit too big for their boots, fractured into different units or came up with largely derivative material.
I’m not saying that Sectioned are doomed to walk this well-worn path, and I’m pleased to say that ‘Outlier’ is, cliché lovers, fucking brutal. In the midst of trying to come up with a descriptor for its opening track, ‘Parasite’, I invented a genre that shall not be repeated here for I would certainly deserve to be slapped down for it. But joking aside, its slow build up is nothing short of menacing, utterly cold as the guitars grind and plunder before any vocals and any sort of melody comes in. It sits closer to sludge territory if nothing else, though technical sludge seems like an improbability given being technical in metal generally means being fleet-fingered, not something the thundering chords of sludge/doom have in common. Eventually said parasite gets in the system four minutes in and the initial malevolence brimming on the edges spills over in the final minute.
The remainder of ‘Outlier’ generally goes about with a bit more bluster, from the pit-friendly ‘Trismus’ to the more progressively natured ‘The Body As a Deadweight’. As far as technicality goes, Sectioned seem to have all bases covered, throwing in all manner off fluidity, discordance and insanity. It falls somewhere between the technicality of SikTh, Behold the Arctopus et al, with equal influence from Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan, albeit with the occasional generic metalcore/deathcore section as an inflammatory measure. Still, for someone who generally doesn’t go too near this sort of thing very often any more, it’s a pleasant surprise to come across a band already as accomplished and excellent at their craft as Sectioned. And furthermore, they’re Scottish. If I’d have realised that at first I wouldn’t have needed to explain their supremacy any further, for Scottish metal owns that word right now.
‘Outlier’ is available as both a CD and as a name-your-price download. Go!
Buy/download ‘Outlier‘ here
Stream it below: