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Arsis - Unwelcome

by Salvador Aguinaga II at 13 May 2013, 5:40 PM

I’m sighing as I type this very sentence. I’ve been conditioned to loathe Nuclear Blast Records. To suggest evidence on this statement I immediately listened to a more-or-less average Doom Metal band on a lesser known record label and enjoyed it immensely as opposed to the frequently released IMMOLATION and ARSIS’s latest addition to their ever-growing discography, respectively. Hence, experiencing this double affair, this is the last time I will review a band via the entitlement of this rather butchering record label. I think one would rationally come to the same conclusion when two bands you hold dear are ravaged like a pampered civilian washed away on a cannibalistic island. There’s a minimal chance of survival with a high probability of psychological damage. Of course you should know I’m getting well-acquainted with Black Metal so overproduction is an insult to my listening experience. I actually have a respect for culture and their natural inhabitance and values but nonetheless a label like the one mentioned probably likes the idea of assimilation and deletion of ancestral importance. They’re like your average American forgetting their European roots and claiming what they rightfully don’t own; it’s time for a revolt and a mass exodus. Perhaps I seem like a fascist. That’s fine calling me what you will but your terminology is of a limited view.

I seriously don’t know what happened. For both ARSIS and IMMOLATION I enjoyed their prior full-lengths via Nuclear Blast just fine. Tastes do change and I believe I’m seeing more and more acts under a different light. I mean you even go back a mere six months and there’s a lusty gap of difference between then and the present day. Yeah I know what you’re thinking, “Stop the rambling and talk about the music already”. Fine, I’ll meet your wish. Well if you go back to “Starve For The Devil” and see the now, what’s different is the addition of guitarist, Brandon Ellis, a young lad who is younger than me. Almost immediately, I have the prejudice of anyone younger than me is a naïve fool unless you like to wander and appreciate astronomy then you’re cool in my book. As the cliché saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words”. With that said, I stick to my prejudice view. However, he could have potential; it’s much too early to tell.

Irk gestures were prominent on my part as the group vocals featured throughout the album were out of place. Starting with “Carve My Cross” were some questionable backing or layered vocals representing some hardcore epileptic droning of what might be expected of a Metalcore band. James Malone’s shrieks are iconic so it’s hard to believe a transaction between his shrieks and the many dreadful vocals would surface through the progression of this song and other wavering pieces. Even the contrast between shrieks and death growls were iffy and minimally considered in the overall effect of songwriting. If that wasn’t bad enough “Handbook For The Recently Deceased” raises an eyebrow and you’re infinitely asking yourself the question, “What the heck were they thinking? Is there some bug going around?” First of all they relate to CHILDREN OF BODOM in two respects; 1. The almost gag-reflexive backing vocals of a similar vein and 2. The ridiculous choice of covering an odd well-known pop song (“Sunglasses At Night” (Corey Hart cover)). Right now I’m thinking perhaps “Handbook For The Recently Deceased” has a subliminal meaning. I’m almost positive it’s Ellis but as the solo fires off, the rhythm guitar sounded reminiscent of Glam, for goodness sake Glam! Maybe this “handbook” is a testament of what not to do at a stoplight.

This opens another topic I’d like to discuss, solos. I’ve always been astonished by Malone’s solos. That is the aspect that drew me to ARSIS, embodying a truly gifted guitarist. From what I call one of my favorite albums, “A Celebration of Guilt”, to the quite modernized “Starve For The Devil” is a splendid resume of guitar craftsmanship that any sane man would be burned to the stake to pass up an opportunity to be bewildered in all its grandeur. This winning streak ends here as I was quite disappointed by the turnout of the solos. It didn’t have the same passion, it had no integrity, and soulless in a terrain used to giving life to barren wastelands. Sometimes I want to think something is wrong with me. Am I in a parallel world? Is this really happening before my very eyes?

Last but not least I couldn’t feel their technical aspect anymore. They’re just a Melodic Death Metal band now. In a time like this I think it’s better to count your bearings. There’s still OUROBOROS, QUO VADIS, and even ARSIS’s discography between the two points I enjoyed. I don’t think there’s a single thing I particularly liked about “Unwelcome”. Expect Shawn Priest planting a few new seeds but even it had its weeds and even the healthy ones were susceptible to erosion.

1 Star Rating

1. Unwelcome
2. Carve My Cross
3. Handbook for the Recently Deceased
4. Choking on Sand
5. Let Me Be the One
6. Sunglasses at Night (Corey Hart cover)
7. Martyred or Mourning
8. No One Lies to the Dead
9. I Share in Shame
10. Scornstar
11. The Face of My Innocence
12. Haunted, Fragile, and Frozen
13. Six Coffins Wide
14. Veil of Mourning Black
15. A Tearful Haunt, Condemned
16. Carve My Cross
17. Denied
James Malone - Guitars, Vocals
Noah Martin - Bass
Shawn Priest - Drums
Brandon Ellis - Guitars
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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