Sunday, 19 June 2011

CD Review: We Are The Nightmare, by Arsis (2008)


On their third album, technical death metal merchants Arsis tilt towards allowing more distinct melodies to enter their compositions. Not that We Are The Nightmare is in danger of being melodic; it's just that melodies are no longer shunned like a wildly contagious disease.

James Malone is still responsible for almost all the songwriting, but the group is now expanded to a four-piece, and maybe the larger group dynamic is partially responsible for increased musical accessibility.  Noah Martin on bass and Darren Cesca on drums are a defined rhythm section and actually keep a semblance of an understandable beat on many tracks or portions thereof, while Ryan Knight assists Malone with guitar duties.

Overthrown is the strongest selection on the album, and maybe one of the band's finest efforts. Malone and Knight surrender somewhat to a melody that evokes European melodic death metal influences, and Arsis all of a sudden sound brilliant. This may not be the direction that Malone prefers, but it demonstrates a potential avenue that Arsis is certainly capable of pursuing.

Elsewhere, album opener and title track We Are The Nightmare frequently picks up and abandons a soulful melody to good effect; Sightless Wisdom combines frantic technicality with galloping and sometimes infectious guitar work; and My Oath To Madness features a threatening guitar riff that haunts the song from outside darkened windows.

The rest of the tracks are never less than technically interesting, but as with most of the creative output of Arsis, it is music that always makes its appeal to the brain but not necessarily to the heart.


Band:

James Malone - Guitars, Vocals
Ryan Knight - Guitars
Noah Martin - Bass
Darren Cesca - Drums


Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. We Are The Nightmare - 8
2. Shattering The Spell - 7
3. Sightless Wisdom - 8
4. Servants To The Night - 7
5. Failing Winds Of Hopeless Greed - 7
6. Overthrown - 9
7. Progressive Entrapment - 7
8. A Feast For The Liar's Tongue - 7
9. My Oath To Madness - 8
10. Failure's Conquest - 7

Average: 7.50

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