Sunday, 12 June 2011

CD Review: United In Regret, by Arsis (2006)

The second album from Arsis is a studious exploration of technical death metal, James Malone displaying undoubted proficiency in writing and performing complex, fast-paced, sometimes frantic music.

How much United In Regret can be enjoyed depends on the willingness to accept just the faintest scent of melody. Most of the tracks are more about power, precision and execution, and much less about melodies and predictable structures. Segments of melody do meander into many of the tracks; they are quickly and efficiently ushered out like under-age customers at a strictly enforced restricted movie theatre.

What is left behind is committed and uncompromising if somewhat repetitive. Like a large machine generating enormous power, noise and vibration but for an undetermined functional purpose, United In Regret rumbles on in the basement, impressive but aimless.

Lust Before The Maggots Conquest and The Things You Said come close to creating, maintaining, and persisting with a tune that provides a recognizable structure and solid framework for a song; but this is a relative assessment. The Things You Said is a Depeche Mode cover, and a technical death metal band covering an eighties new-age electronic pop group is one of those believe-it-or-not moments in music history. None of the other tracks on United In Regret ever short-change the quality of the music, the undoubted talent and ambition shining through despite the insistence on de-emphasizing melody as a core element of music.

United In Regret is music to be admired for its technical skill; it is not music that can be celebrated for providing any sort of lyrical inspiration.


James Malone - Guitars, Vocals
Michael Van Dyne - Drums

Bass by Noah Martin.

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1.Oh, The Humanity - 7
2. ...And The Blind One Came - 7
3. United In Regret - 7
4. I Speak Through Shadows - 7
5. Lust Before The Maggots Conquest - 8
6. The Marriage Bed - 7
7. The Cold Resistance - 7
8. The Things You Said - 8
9. Hopeless Truth - 7

Average: 7.22

Engineered and Mixed by Eyal Levi and Arsis.
Mastered by Scott Hull.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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