01. Venom of The Pernicious
02. The Universal Longing
03. Absent Illumination (The Transgressor)
04. Formative Evasion
05. Forgotten But Not Undreampt
06. Arcane Stellar Firmament
07. Instinctual Human Descension
Even the most reliable and consistent record labels can fire off a dud every now and then. The "experimental dark metal" of "Archetypal Transformation" by Alabama's QUINTA ESSENTIA indicates that the players have chops and possess the ability to weave a complex composition. Sadly, that is the end of the story, as the 55 minutes of what is basically prog-death loses the listener in musical mazes that offer no climaxes and certainly no exits.
"Archetypal Transformation" is the most daring of the Ibex Moon releases thus far in that it does not exemplify the roster's more typically trad-death sound, the blackened/thrashier releases not withstanding. Said quality a worthwhile purchase does not make though. I like progressive death as much as the next guy, but the difference with bands like ATHEIST is that the arrangements are, no matter how complex, inviting, even to those outside of musician/tech-nerd circles. If one were to encapsulate the style on "Archetypal Transportation", the description would include vocals of the mid-range/black metal harsh variety interspersed with weird/creepy clean singing/chanting, compositional twists and turns, and a smattering of acoustic segments. The problem is that many of the proggy detours sound randomly placed or just do not work (e.g. the clean vocals on "Formative Evasion"). Fans with some exposure to death metal's experimental end will periodically come across a cool part or generally appreciate the strange vibes of the offering (as I did),but those moments are few and far between. I was actually hoping that QUINTA ESSENTIA's uninteresting and tedious set at Central Illinois Metal Fest would not be indicative of the album quality. Those hopes were dashed.
I would not go so far as to call "Archetypal Transformation" an awful addition to the prog-death sub-genre. I'd just call it boring and forgettable.