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Arshenic – Final Collision

Final Collision
by Santiago Puyol at 17 September 2019, 11:48 AM

ARSHENIC is a Polish Modern Metal band, which takes influences from different genres such as Progressive Rock/Metal, Art Rock, Gothic Metal and Alternative Rock, with just a dash of Electronica. With an aggressive but polished, introspective style, "Final Collision" follows the path traced with the EPs "Arshenic" from 2007 and "Erased" from 2016.

The album opens with the enigmatic and prog-tingled title track, changing time signatures, clean guitars and groovy rhythmic patterns serve as a backdrop to the verses while distortion takes over the choruses, led by Ofilia's powerful voice. The second half of the song shows the contrast between the more aggressive side of the band, with some growling and meaty riffing in between soft melodic passages. It ends up being the heaviest track here.

"Dear Remose" moves at a slower pace, showing some teeth with its sinister intro and menacing chorus. Bartosz Staszak provides some intricate drumming, adding some great texture work with the cymbals and drum rolls here and there. The tempo picks up for the last third of the track, getting into Progressive territory. Dramatic strings add a gothic flair to the song, before reverting to its original sound.

"Follow" feels more Alternative Rock inspired, even with a ‘90s touch. Marek Turło’s bass shines with one of his catchiest work on the album. The vocal harmonies increase the intensity of the track, building tension even if it never really explodes. It does not need to; it is heavy in its subtleties. Meanwhile, "Rabbit Hole" gets into Post-Grunge territory for most of its length, and it certainly delivers, being quite memorable.

Things get funky and psychedelic on the very beginning of "Madness". Reverb-drenched guitars and a prominent bassline bring "Hatesong" by PORCUPINE TREE to mind. Some PINK FLOYD and MARILLION influences seem to bleed into the guitar work, particularly on softer sections. Włodzimierz "Vlad" Czuba delivers a subtle but emotional solo. The track sets into a vaguely oriental feel towards the end.

"Cold" is the power ballad of the album, with delicate string arrangements, and a slow burning feel. It builds and rebuilds itself, heavy with hurtful singing by Ofilia and emotionally charged musicianship by the rest of the band. "Sign" falls closer to the Gothic sound of the band, and although it provides a massive crescendo, it does not add much new. It is a fine track, but placed as second to last and following "Cold" certainly hurts it.

"Atari" is probably the most fun track on the record. It’s heavy on Electronic flourishes (those synths are amazing), and I’m assuming it’s sung in Japanese. It feels straight out of an anime or coming from a Japanese Metal band. It’s an explosive closer, even if it feels a little out of nowhere following two back-to-back ballads.

"Final Collision" is a solid record but also a bit unfocused one. The tracklist could be one of the issues. It is not an extremely contrasting album, but it does drag a little towards the end, even being a 37-minute, eight-track album. It feels a bit inconsistent on memorability, with some really strong catchy choruses and some meandering tracks that doesn’t feel as immediate.

Production is mostly great, especially in the way it showcases the rhythm section. Vlad’s guitar work does get a bit buried in the mix at times. It should be noticed that ARSHENIC avoid falling into the Metalcore trap that most Modern Metal bands seem to fall, emphasizing other influences such as Prog Metal, Art Rock, Gothic Metal and even some Post-Metal here and there. Their music feels contemporary, but not cliché.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Final Collision
2. Dear Remorse
3. Follow
4. Rabbit Hole
5. Madness
6. Cold
7. Sign
8. Atari
Ofilia – Vocals
Bartosz Staszak – Drums
Włodzimierz "Vlad" Czuba – Guitars
Marek Turło – Bass
Record Label: Sliptrick Records


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