REPLACIRE Flex Brute Strength on A Fine Manipulation

“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

No one can outsmart REPLACIRE. Not only does the band hold several degrees from Berklee College of Music. Even their name is something of a puzzle. But for their long-awaited third album, they weren’t interested in pumping out just another set of rigorously technical death metal. As their new single so finely demonstrates, they wanted to flex both their brains and brawn.

Listen to A Fine Manipulation:

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

Pre-order & pre-save:

Metalheads of all shapes and sizes have come to count on REPLACIRE for a dizzying mental workout. The Center That Cannot Hold keeps those synapses firing. On A Fine Manipulation, drummer Joey Ferretti and bassist Zak Baskin hardly break a sweat as they run you through a gauntlet of stomach-turning tempo shifts. Before the song is halfway through its compact four-minute runtime, Poh Hock has already lapped the field with a solo that hurdles through the air like a sprinter. 

A Fine Manipulation will twist even the brainiest tech-death scholar into a pretzel, but the band’s new single works out all your core headbanging muscles. After warming up with some curls of melodic dissonance and a few short but clenched bursts of nervy shredding, Hock gets a spot from rhythm guitarist Eric Alper as the two lock into the kind of steadily pulverizing downhill chug that’s bound for the mosh pit.

“During our last tour, we noticed that fans really responded to the parts of our set that are heavier and more crushing”, says Alper, who when he’s not cranking out records at Ugly Duck Studios is flexing his muscles as a competitive body builder. “When writing our new album, we tried to come up with more songs like this one. A Fine Manipulation retains that technical density that metal fans love to study, but it’s also more straightforward and hard-hitting in a way that makes people move around”. 

Of course, it wasn’t so easy for REPLACIRE to stick to that relatively simple blueprint. Like their current label mates and former tour mates Gorguts and Beyond Creation,  this band has always taken their time when it comes to the heavy lifting of writing a new album. But between the global pandemic, countless Zoom calls, bouts with writer’s block, depression, anxiety, sleep paralysis and one near trip to the hospital, The Center That Cannot Hold is seven long years in the making.

But A Fine Manipulation succeeds in the way that all good metal does: it takes those negative experiences and channels them into a raw and empowering force. Even his cleans thunder like Zeus, but James Dorton’s death growls have never sounded more imposing than they do over the song’s crushing breakdown.

“I am god”, he roars, as if throwing the weight of the world off his shoulders.

On “A Fine Manipulation”, REPLACIRE prove they’re the full package.

Replacire – “The Center That Cannot Hold” (Official Audio) 2024
Replacire Cover240320

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)
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: 43:36

Style: Technical Death Metal
Country: United States
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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