Aronious are a technical death metal band from Wisconsin. They released Truth in Perception, which they call an EP even though it’s seven tracks and 44 minutes long, in 2014. Their first self-declared full-length album (13 tracks, 58 minutes), Perspicacity, came out last week.

Within current progressive/technical death metal, there are a variety of approaches, all related but slightly different. There’s the jazzy prog of Obscura; the ultra-hard atonal crunching of Ulcerate; and the modern composition-esque weirdness of Gorguts. Aronious take elements from each of these styles, combining them in ways that can turn their compositions into disorienting riff whirlwinds. Guitarists Ryan Brumlic and Nick Weyers lock in, delivering one crunching blow after another in relentless unison as bassist Evan Neiman adds low-end bulk and the occasional doodling interlude, and drummer Sean Smith unleashes machine-gun fills and dramatic slow-speed barrages.

There are some genuinely, unsettlingly beautiful instrumental interludes on Perspicacity, like the one that starts at the 2:25 mark of “The Passage of Knowledge.” Whatever Brumlic and Weyers are doing, it’s like eerie sounds echoing through the halls of an abandoned space station, and when the intensity ramps up again, it’s as powerful as anything on an album by Wormed or even Chaos Echœs. The two-part, six-minute instrumental “Modernity” is even more striking.

What really makes the band stand out, though, is vocalist Zach Earley, who has a surprisingly clean delivery for this style of music. More often than not, he sounds more like Lamb of God‘s Randy Blythe than a typical death metal bulldog. I haven’t paid much attention to the lyrics, but you could if you wanted to.

Stream the album below.

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