ARSIS has stood out as one of the stepping stools for many into the Tech Death genre. Their brand of ultra technical, yet very melodic take on Death Metal lends itself to fairly easy consumption for your average Metalhead and is one of the reasons they have stood out amongst their peers. So with their fourth album, “Starve For The Devil”, ARSIS seems to be pushing their own limits, by pulling back and giving themselves an older vibe.
2008’s “We Are The Nightmare” was a test in excessiveness even for the spastic finger bleeding leads and wicked drum fills that ARSIS loves to use. So it comes as a surprise that “Starve For The Devil” pulls back a bit more and plays up the raw factor. Don’t expect a whole lot different though, ARSIS is still bringing their technical ‘A’ game when it comes to the chaotic structuring, more than impressive technical playing (particularly between the two guitarists), and their obvious worship of the band DEATH. The details are all the same as fans will notice, but the big difference with this album is the vibe.
Trying to describe a vibe for an album can be tough, so I’ll do the best I can with “Starve For The Devil”. This fourth album sounds as though ARSIS has decided to add in a solid dose of old school VENOM into the mix. There is a raw Rock N Roll tenacity with this album that the band hasn’t experimented with prior.
The opening track “Forced To Rock” heads off this concept with a more straight forward and pulled back approach that creates this vibe. The rest of the album doesn’t use it to the magnification that this first track does but the aura is there and quite frankly, it makes this album a lot of fun to listen to. Even the drums seem to have been taken back from constant fills and flourishes to a more evenly structured force giving the album and almost Thrash like quality. The guitars rip through a thousand riffs and even more NWOBHM inspired melodies to compliment the heavy bass and drum rhythm section and of course, James Malone throws on his raspy growls to ice the entire cake over.
ARSIS remains as one of the best newer bands to entire the Metal world and their melodic take on Technical Death Metal is more than inspiration for their fans. Don’t be afraid to give this a few spins though, as the first listen tends to take the listener by surprise rather than comfortable familiarity. Give it time and it will grow on you. The new VENOM inspired vibe and their already patented technical approach is actually a very volatile combination that makes this a killer release for the band. Perhaps not quite as good as their previous efforts, but “Starve For The Devil” is another great release.
Songs to check out: “Forced To Rock”, “The Ten Of Swords”, “Beyond Forlorn”.
(Online May 15, 2010)