Replacire Flex All their Muscles on New Album The Center That Cannot Hold

“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

The idea behind Replacire‘s new album was simple. Write some straight-ahead chuggers to feed the mosh pit the next time these tech-death brainiacs went on tour. 

It wasn’t so easy. But despite countless Zoom calls, bouts with sleep paralysis and one near trip to the hospital, the Boston band sound stronger than ever on The Center That Cannot Hold

The Center That Cannot Hold comes out today, Friday, June 20 on Season of Mist.  You can run through all 11 brain-busting tech-death workouts thanks to No Clean Singing, who are premiering the full album stream.

Listen to The Center That Cannot Hold

Pre-order and Stream

Take a closer look at their name and it’s clear why Replacire has become synonymous with Eric Alper. After all, Alper is their sole original member, having started the band all the way back in 2009 as a student at Berklee College of Music. When he’s not producing other people’s records at Ugly Duck Studios, Alper is sculpting his own physique as a competitive body builder. But during the sessions for The Center That Cannot Hold, he was feeling weighed down by the world.

“The pandemic was hard on us”, Alper says. “We were all set to hit the studio together in March of 2020. But after the pandemic shut everything down, I had to sell our tour van and give up our rehearsal space just to keep my head above water”. 

The mounting stress would’ve left a lesser band bloody-tongued and screaming. “All hope lies crimson on the hill / sinking”, groans James Dorton on the album’s dissonant and demolishing opener. “Living Hell” was inspired by a nasty spell of sleep paralysis that Dorton suffered after witnessing a traumatic event. Meanwhile, Alper was battling his own bouts with anxiety and depression that were brought on by a nagging case of writer’s block. The opening frenzy of “The Helix Unravels” has been hammering through his skull since 2017. 

“There were days when all I could do was lay on the couch and hum a half-finished riff”, he says.

But despite this perfect shit storm, Replacire banged their heads together and pulled through on The Center That Cannot Hold. Poh Hock twists and turns those unfinished sections on “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. The band’s rhythm section takes the reins on the title track. Joey Feretti starts off fully aslant with harsh syncopated drum thwacks, only for bassist Zak Baskin to dunk the song’s middle passage into a trippy breakdown. 

Of course, Dorton is no slouch either. “James recorded vocals for the title track in one full take, with no stops, over and over, until we got it right”, says Alper, who was looking for his mighty vocalist to spit out the same uncontrolled vulnerability as Slipknot’s self-titled LP. Clearly, Dorton took that inspiration to heart. When the song suddenly cuts out with a muffled thump, you might think that’s his body hitting the floor instead of the mic.

“The next morning, he woke up shaking uncontrollably and his face was white as a sheet” Alper remembers. “He came back to life after we got some fluids into him, though for a moment, I was worried that he needed to go to the hospital”  

Thankfully, Replacire are seasoned pros. Hock, Ferretti and Baskin are also Berklee graduates and Dorton was the vocalist for Black Crown Initiate before he filled in on tour for Ne Obliviscaris.  “I am your lord god”, he roars on “A Fine Manipulation”, as if throwing the weight of the world off his shoulders, before the rest of the band launches into the album’s most muscular breakdown. 

“We poured all of our blood, sweat and tears into The Center That Cannot Hold“, Alper says. “It took years off my life. There were plenty of days 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, but they’re also a lot heavier. I’m proud of us”.  

Early praise for The Center That Cannot Hold

“This is tech death via the impersonal beating of Meshuggah at their harshest, or Norma Jean’s utterly punishing classic Bless the Martyand Kiss the Child, or maybe The Dillinger Escape Plan’s legendary first album Calculating Infinity. It’s the sort of album I haven’t heart for years, one that’s both unconventional and well-crafted, making for music that’s impenetrable yet addictive nonetheless.” – Wonderbox Metal

“A majorly intense album that could turn on a dime, roar up like a mountain lion, or retreat with the skill of a mongoose” – Metal Temple (8/10)

“These guys are the real deal of tech” – The Progressive Subway

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: 43:36

Style: 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 but 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

Order & Stream:

Follow Replacire:
Apple Music:

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


Disturbingly Good


Metalheads Forever is a non-profit organization. However, if you like what we do, all support is welcome.

Donate with PayPal

© 2021-2023 / Metalheads Forever Magazine / Created by Black Speech

Translate »