Metal is in a period of transition once again. I think we all can agree metalcore is definitely losing steam (bands have either evolved from that title (Lamb Of God, Trivium, Shadows Fall) or have taken it to its limit (Killswitch Engage)) and now it's only a matter of finding a new way to give metal a kick in the ass.
(for argument's sake we are assuming metalcore did increase metal's popularity and is in some way beneficial).
The way things are looking it seems like the unlikely genre of technical death metal is on the rise. Even to the level that there are now more "commercially appealing" versions of these bands creating music. Case A below (heard of The Arusha Accord byway of the dudes at metalsucks).
I'm not sure whether I can say I really like this band or not, because I've only heard one song by them, but the one positive aspect of the video is that the band is performing with energy (which is my big complaint with tech death bands, unless you are talking maybe The Dillinger Escape Plan who are more tech and not really death). Granted this is music video and not live, but you get the point.
I saw The Faceless live and while I dig some of the stuff on Planetary Duality, the live show was boring and the vocals are completely incomprehensible live (Case B). Not to mention the album kind of blurs together after track 2.
What I'm getting at is that tech death metal (and lots of modern metal) is missing the energy that the old school rockers / metal heads once had (and some still have). The live shows were fun because it was equally as enjoyable to see the band rock out, as it was to hear them play the songs.
That is not the case with many tech death bands today.
Another tech death band that is similar to The Faceless, but more evolved, is Obscura. Cosmogenesis is a great album and they are more fun to watch than The Faceless live, but once again, the music itself is lacking some of the emotion classic bands like Pantera or say Metallica always had.
So what is this post all about in the end? The conclusion that while tech death is cool, bands need to remember that the live show and emotion can be just as vital as playing cool sounding riffs. Maybe Arsis has it right and its latest album is a proper example of where the genre should go?
It's funny because I have heard a lot of mixed response with the new Arsis record, but goddamn if it isn't a fun listen! Is it too much to ask for technicality and emotion in a band's music? And is tech death the new direction metal is going? (you could also make the argument it's going the way of modern doom/stoner metal, which bores me even more). I can't say 100%, but I am interested in seeing how this all plays out in upcoming years.