Archives: Volume 4 (read our review here) felt, to be honest, a little tired and stretched to the max (even with its short run-time). The djent overload had reached its plateau and there was very little that actually stood out, even in a mammoth series like this that is made up mostly of fragments of songs and sonic idea sketches. Each release has been chronologically working its way towards the modern-day demos of Misha Mansoor, so there is an expectation of evolution as we get closer to the end, which Archives: Volume 3 has, if not in huge amounts.

Yes, there are more chugging djent polyrhythms and Meshuggah-worship in songs like “Imaginary,” “Sinus,” and “Unconditional” – this is Mansoor’s bread and butter and he does it well, and these tracks do have some outstanding melodies and odd meters that give them life. But it’s been the pieces that colour outside the box that have made the series so interesting, and there are a few choice works on Archives: Volume 3.

Album opener, “From 2 To 7” is a schizoid System Of A Down barrage that is fueled by excessive flurries of 8-bit nerdy shred, and it sounds fresh and fun. “Next, Please” is Periphery fodder, but it’s fast, heavy, melodic, and the guitar leads are tasteful and carefully thought out (not to mention deadly).

“Superior Carvin Test” relies on a groove a mile wide and is one of the heaviest things that Mansoor has created, almost a mid-era Fear Factory jam with stop-start chugs and badass tone. “Sweden, MD” is, as the name somewhat implies, a bit of a Gothenburg melodic death metal trip that relies on a meaty, winding riff and has a tasty In Flames chorus section. And finally, album-closer “Unconditional” is modern metal with proggy rhythms, interesting melodies, quiet passages for balance, and all the necessary feels at which Mansoor is so damn good.

Archives: Volume 3 is slightly longer than previous releases with fewer tracks, and that’s where the quality lies. There are more songs than fragments and there is a feeling of composition versus mere ideas put to tape. I think we’ll see some outstanding work in the final few releases still to come but, until then, we have some fantastic music to keep us busy with Archives: Volume 3.

Misha Mansoor

Archives: Volume 3 Track Listing:

1. From 2 To 7
2. Imaginary
3. Juggernaut Pt2
4. More Juggies
5. Next, Please
6. Sinus
7. Superior Carvin Test
8. Sweden, MD
9. Ultimatum
10. Unconditional

Run Time: 37 minutes
Release Date: September 4, 2020
Record Label: 3DOT Recordings