REPLACIRE Shred Tighter Than Ever on The Helix Unravels

Shred Tighter Than Ever on
The Helix Unravels

“A band on their way to the top” – Angry Metal Guy
Leave you with a smile on your face and the horns in the air” – Metal Injection
“Mixes the pummeling intensity of Dying Fetus with the proggy eccentricity of Leprous” – No Clean Singing
“Engrossing brutality and neck-breaking charm. Truly the best of both worlds” – Dead Rhetoric
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Replacire – “The Helix Unravels” (Official Audio) 2024

There’s no box that Replacire can’t break. The Boston tech-death band boasts multiple Berklee  graduates, one hell of a voice actor and a competitive bodybuilder. But while writing and recording their upcoming third album, all too often, they felt trapped inside their own personal torture chamber. Hence why it’s called The Center That Cannot Hold. Still, these guys banged their heads together and pushed way beyond the finish line. On new single “The Helix Unravels”, they sound tighter than ever.

Listen to “The Helix Unravels”:

The Center That Cannot Hold comes out June 21, 2024 on Season of Mist.

Replacire are always thinking up ways to break metalhead brains. “The Helix Unravels” stems all the way back to 2017. The song’s opening frenzy was already drilled into Eric Alper’s skull when the band was still hot off their first headlining tour. But just as they were all set to enter Alper’s Ugly Duck Studio come March of 2020, the music industry hit a brick wall.”The pandemic was hard on us”, says Alper. “To stay afloat financially, we had to sell our tour van and move out of our practice space. It felt like everything that we had built up to support the band was falling apart”.

As if that wasn’t enough weight on his shoulders, the mounting stress knocked Alper into a nasty bout of writer’s block. “There were days when all I could do was lay on the couch and hum a half-finished riff”, he says. Luckily, Poh Hock was right beside him to help pick up the slack. Hock twists and turns “The Helix Unravels” into a tight, three-minute burst that works all of tech-death’s core muscles: glitching fret bends, jazzy interludes and downpicked chugs that could break even the thickest of necks.

Still, it’s the band who tie the whole song together. Joey Feretti never takes his foot off the bass drum pedal while Zak Baskin holds down a stomach-churning groove. “Say that we will see this through”, James Dorton screams through clenched teeth before unleashing his mighty death growl.

“We poured all of our blood, sweat and tears into this album”, Alper says. “There were plenty of times where we felt like quitting. But I’m glad we didn’t. The Center That Cannot Hold is the album that Replacire has been striving for since the very beginning”.

With “The Helix Unravels”, Replacire prove their one of the tightest bands in tech-death.

Replacire – “The Center That Cannot Hold” (Official Audio) 2024
Replacire – “A Fine Manipulation” (Official Audio) 2024
1. Bloody Tongued And Screaming (4:26)
2. The Center That Cannot Hold (3:05) [LISTEN]
3. Living Hell (2:58)
4. A Fine Manipulation (4:21) [LISTEN]
5. The Helix Unravels (3:02) [LISTEN]
6. Drag Yourself Along The Earth (3:39)
7. Inglorious Impunity (3:32)
8. The Ghost In The Mirror (3:57)
9. Hoard The Trauma Like Wealth (4:20)
10. Transfixed On The Work (3:28)
11. Uncontrolled And Unfulfilled (6:41)
Total runtime: 43:36Style: Technical Death Metal
FFO: The Faceless, Revocation, Gorguts, Cynic

When Replacire started thinking about their third album, they gravitated around a simple idea. Write some caveman riffs to feed the mosh pit the next time they went out on tour. Of course, like any good technical death metal band that’s worth its weight in colored sands, these whiz kids deviated from their initial thought pattern. It wasn’t easy. Heck, they ended up crawling down a seven-year rabbit hole. But on The Center That Cannot Hold, the Boston band flex all their muscles.

“This was a grueling process”, says guitarist Eric Alper. “But it was worth it in the end”.

On the surface, Replacire starts and ends with Alper. After all, the band is just his name spelled backward. Alper is a competitive bodybuilder with a mean and lean right rhythm hand, but don’t let those beefy credentials fool you. When it comes to the studio, his brain does all the heavy lifting. By day, Alper produces music for other artists, as well as TV and movies. He’s a proud alumnus  of Berklee College of Music, which is where he formed Replacire with four classmates back in 2009.

Using the money that they savvily raised on Kickstarter, Replacire self-released their debut album by the end of 2012. A hybrid of thrash, prog and death metal, The Human Burden punched through the underground like a cyborg’s fist. “This is what would have happened if Chuck Schuldiner were still alive today and mixed up with the likes of Obscura and Opeth at the same time”, Metal Injection gushed. After tours with Hate Eternal and Beyond Creation and an unintentional private showcase for a certain label rep, Replacire signed with Season of Mist in 2016. The band wasted no time before making a quick first impression. While still head-spinning, their second album landed with the decisive force of a first-round knockout.

“This group has set the tone for modern, rhythmically-centered death metal”, proclaimed Loudwire, who named them one of the top 5 bands amongst the next generation of death metal. “It’s time to wake up and hop aboard Replacire’s train”.

Indeed, Replacire were chugging along with a full head of steam. But there’s a reason why their new album is called The Center That Cannot Hold. After all, this is extreme metal. Things were bound to go flying off the rails at some point. Before they could even step out on their next headlining tour, the band’s lineup completely turned over. While their momentum stalled, Alper went searching for replacements.

Luckily, he didn’t have to go any further than his old stomping grounds. Alper linked up with Zak Baskin, who had filled in on bass for parts of Do Not Deviate. Alper then reconnected with Kee Poh Hock, a guitar whiz who’d lived with Baskin when all three were students at Berklee. Even though he graduated a few classes after them, Joey Feretti was so advanced behind the drum kit that he became Alper’s roommate. With mighty vocalist James Dorton joining fresh off Black Crown Initiate’s breakout, the new-and-improved Replacire were all set to hit Alper’s Ugly Duck Studio come March of 2020.

No one needs to be reminded of what happened next. Replacire  always grind in the studio, taking their sweet time to fine tune every technical detail down to the last seventh string. “It never ceases to amaze me the way other metal bands just churn stuff out”, Alper says. “It doesn’t come easy for us. So many hours go into so few seconds of music”. But when the pandemic shut the world down, writing slowed to a crawl amidst the endless slog of Zoom sessions. With live music shut down for the foreseeable future, suddenly, their well-laid plan for pumping out an album of crowd killers seemed more and more like a flimsy proposition. To stay afloat, Alper sold the band’s van and moved out of their rehearsal space.

“Everything that I had built to support the band was falling apart”, Alper says.

The mounting stress would’ve left a lesser band bloody-tongued and screaming. But despite being stuck inside this perfect shit storm, Replacire banged their heads together and pushed through. “Living Hell” was inspired by a nasty spell of sleep paralysis that Dorton suffered after witnessing a traumatic event. “In the wake of suicide”, he groans, shrouded by eerie pangs of distortion. Alper was battling his own bouts with anxiety and depression that were brought on by a rather severe case of writer’s block, but even when all he could stand to do was lay on the couch while humming through a half-finished riff, Poh Hock would pick up his Strandberg and zip past the finish line. “The Helix Unravels” could twist all of Mensa into a pretzel with its interlocked chugs and squealing fret bends.

The Center That Cannot Hold is crammed full of mind-bending tech-death workouts. Baskin’s unfettered groove serves as the perfect springboard for another transcendent Hock solo halfway through “Hoard the Trauma Like Wealth”, though his reverberated bass echoes like a sea of voices trapped at the bottom of a well on “The Ghost in the Mirror”. The title track unspools under Feretti’s syncopated snare hits and precision blasting, though Alper was the real drill sergeant. “I wanted the vocals to sound like they do on Slipknot’s self-titled album, where Corey is gasping for air”. Dorton took the inspiration to heart, running through full takes, with no stops, for hours on end. Heck, his vocal chords were so tattered and torn that he narrowly avoided a trip to the hospital.

“We poured all of our blood, sweat and tears into this album”, Alper says. “It took years off my life. There were plenty of times where I wanted to quit. But I’m glad we didn’t, because this is our best album. Everything from the overall production down to the lead guitar parts took a step up. The tone is more serious  The songs are still techy buy they’re also a lot heavier. I’m proud of us”.

On The Center That Cannot Hold, Replacire stand stronger than ever.

Eric Alper – Guitars
James Dorton – Vocals
Kee Poh Hock – Guitar
Zak Baskin – Bass
Joey Ferretti – Drums

Recording Studio
Ugly Duck Studios

Production Credits
Eric Alper – Producer & Sound Engineer
Jens Bogren – Mixing & Mastering Studio Engineer (Fascination Street Studios)

Cover Art
Andrew Tremblay (@actremblayart)

Will Yarbrough

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Available Formats:
Digital Download
CD Digipak
12″ Vinyl Gatefold – Black