Thursday, August 12, 2010

Arsis - We Are the Nightmare

Perfect?  No, so cease the fellation already

Arsis tends to generate a lot of buzz in the metal world for their technical approach to melodic death metal. They garnered enough jizzlobbing fans to fill half the Indian Ocean with baby batter after the release of the much lauded A Celebration of Guilt. I personally find the record to be a tad overrated, but still top notch tech death. And like most fans, I noted a saddening dip in quality with United in Regret. Do I share the majorities sentiments with the new album? Judging by the current perfect score, I'd have to say no.

This is by no means a bad record, but it lacks the one quality that all music NEEDS to possess, lest it be useless. It's not memorable. It's not fun. It doesn't beg me to return and listen to it over and over again. The band is doubtlessly in top form as usual, but Malone seems to have lost the knack for writing memorable songs like The Face of My Innocence or Dust and Guilt. The opening title track, Servants to the Night, and Failing Winds of Hopeless Greed are the only songs with segments I can recall from memory. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the album is chock full of technical death metal riffing, blast beats, and Malone's versatile growls, but it just lacks.... something. It's kind of hard to explain what it is, but most readers who aren't brain dead should be able to comprehend what I'm trying to convey.

Part of the problem may actually be, dare I say, a fear of deviation. The whole album seems to be based of a certain principle that every individual track takes to heart. Every song consists mainly of blast beats and technical tapping riffs with very few spots that venture away from their established style. There are a few riffs that ring a delightful old school bell (see the chorus to Servants to the Night), but for the most part this is just more of the same ol' Arsis. Checking my backlog of reviews, it's obvious that I am a huge Running Wild fan, so where do I get off saying that a band that doesn't change has a problem? Well, this formula gets stale. As I've said, Arsis seems to lack the charm and aura that Running Wild has that allows them to release similar albums without much complaint. Arsis's brand of technical melodic death metal is.... soulless. It seems exceedingly pompous of me to say that, but I stand by it. The technical showcase is great, but it's like they bargained with the devil for their ability in exchange for songwriting prowess.

Every last song features at least one sweeping or tapping section in the middle that bears pretty much no relevance to the song at hand. Everything else is mainly a jumpy palm muted death metal riff that we've heard a bazillion times before with perpetually unchanging drums. Progressive Entrapment actually manages to be boring, even with everything going on inside of it. It's actually insulting, like being cockslapped with your own dead dog. Fans of super technical death bollocks are sure to drool all over this, but I find it to be unacceptably mediocre. I actually find myself unable to finish the album at times, it's tedious.

Wrapping up, give it a try at the very least. It's not a bad album at all, but for examples of what Arsis is truly capable of and a showcase of this style done properly, just stick with A Celebration of Guilt. I don't want y'all to think I'm holding this record in the shadow of that behemoth, but in the scope of the band's career, that is definitely the alpha and omega. This keeps my attention about as well as chess tournament in slow motion.

We Are the Nightmare.... cool, now fucking wake up.

RATING - 73%

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