Arsis: A celebration of guilt
29/03/11 || InquisitorGeneralis
Inquisitorgeneralis: Some albums are just too goddamn fucken awesome to be covered by just one man. They are like frisky fat girls; they need double coverage to really get the juices flowing. Who better to tag-team one of the most creative, original, and just plain arse whoppin’ albums of the last decade than the Inquisitor and the Daemon Child? I have wanted to have Arsis’ babies since I first saw them in concert right when their blackened death thrash masterpiece “A Celebration of Guilt” first came out. I heard there was a decent metal band in town so I ventured solo to The Ottobar here in Baltimore and was blown away by the melodic-yet-brutal sound Arsis splattered all over my face. A fan boy was born and a classic fucking album was purchased.
Daemonomania: And I heard it via IG. And it was goooood. You can count the number of great melodic technical death metal albums created by human beings on one hand. One hand that has been in the service of making improvised explosives for a lifetime, even. And Arsis is surely behind one of ‘em. Inquizz loves “A Celebration (of good times)” so much; I get the feeling I’ll be dodging mancannon streams for the duration of this review.
I’m all full of dust and guilt: Dodging them? You are going to be cocking the hammer on my mancannon as I heap praise on each and every one of the killer songs that fill “A Celebration of Guilt” up from beginning to end. While I am a huge fan of later records from Arsis, and I solidly believe that last year’s “Starve for the Devil” was a great return to form, I admit James Malone and company have not done anything that reaches this level of excellence. Any last words before we get to the songwriting’?
Warship Daepraved: Their name sounds like arses. And for some people that is funny. Move on, brother.
Irsis: Hot diggity dog dick, there are some great songs on here. The opener “The face of my innocence” is still the band’s signature tune and shows you everything they are capable of: brutal blasting, melodic riffing that makes In Flames look like kindergarteners who just shit their pants, and thrashy groove sections that result in banged heads and destroyed rooms. “Maddening disdain” again brings more of that delicious melodic groove and is the only song on here that does not enter the hammering hamlet of blastville. “Dust and guilt” fucken rules and it shows that Arsis know how to write a catchy chorus, even while pumping out technical, extreme music. “The sadistic motives behind bereavement letters” features a near perfect breakdown and is probably the most well-rounded song in Arsis’ catalogue. Whew, I’m out of breath and manjuice. My computer looks like a Cinnabon!
InDaeana Jones: Yeah, there is just one shredding, kick-out-the-stops techfest after the next on here, all tastefully adorned with some truly epic solos. There are a few songs I skip time and again, but for the most part Malonebone had hit on a songwriting vein of solid gold. What impresses me most is that despite the fact most songs are made up of hyper speed drumming and general facemeltery, most manage to be both discernable and catchy. Way to go.
Instantkarma: Way to go indeed. The fact that each song on here is distinct and enjoyable, with the highlights being extreme metal perfection, earns the songwriting a solid 9. What say you, Daemoo?
Daepaeisinmaefaece: Yeah, I just said that. And a 9 for me, extra mayo, thanks.
Insectwarfare: “A Celebration of Guilt” sounds like a herd of ecstasy’d up hippos gangbanging in Lord K’s basement. Translation: Sexcellent. The drums hit hard but do not overwhelm, the kicks have that natural sound we all love so much around here at Global D, and the guitars are nice and loud’n‘high. James’ blackarific high-pitched vocals don’t overwhelm either. All bullshit aside, this record sounds damn good.
InDaeStrae: Hmmm, dunno. Production might be an issue for a lot of folks. There is not a lot of bass on here, so the whole thing sounds pretty raspy. I’d liken it to “Serpents of the light”. Is that a problem for me? Nope. But if you expect your DM bands to be aces of bass – well, first off, get the fuck outta here Pogg, and second, look elsewhere. This low-tone free style suits Arsis, though, as it allows you to hear the maniac musicianship taking place.
Geewhizz: The lack of an individual bass player (James did it) is a strong reason for the lack of bass umph on “A Celebromance of Girth” methinks. I’m thinking the score here is an 8.5. because things sound just raw and gritty enough to give the songs bite, but certainly good enough to not conjure up images of corpse-painted fuckwads recording out in the middle of Kampfar’s forest. Problems with an 8.5 good sir?
Deewhizz: I’d go with a 7, but who am I to swim against the tide of Arshitz?
Ijizz: We will roll it back to an 8 then. Guitars are up next, go go go!
Daemonic Simulacrum: All credit to Malone, as this is a guitar-driven album and he drives those six strings right down Route 666. These riffs rip at the flesh ov god, burn the toenails of Mohammed, and repeatedly punch the bellyfat of Buddha. If I were a guitarist you’d get a technical explanation of what he’s up to. But I’m not. So you’ll have to settle with some nonsense.
I’m going into the fire!: Don’t forget that Malone’s black/death/thrash triple-combo guitar skills skullfuck Yahweh through His/Her yamaka and cockslap each and every one of the 100,000 Hindu deities. Oh, and they punch atheists in the balls too. Each song on here is a guitar clinic. The breakdown and tempo-change riffs on “Maddening disdain”, “The sadistic motives…”, “Seven whispers fell silent”, and “Return” are all aces (high!) in the first degree. There are too many fingerlickin’ solo moments to point out. James is the creative force behind Arsis, so it is no surprise that his guitar playing takes center stage.
Dlist Celebrity: O “Wholly Night” – the type of Christmas song Jack Frost (the evil one) would dig massively. That’s probably my favorite, but every other song IG caressed back there is worthy material too. Onward, xtian soldier.
I saw a tittie: With the light of Christ shining upon me, I give the guitars a 9.5 because they are all kinds of sexy on here.
Ill: James Malone’s vocal style mixes black metal shrieking with some death metal growling. While I must admit it is tough for him to replicate this sound live, on “A Celebration of Guilt” this potent mix is close to perfect for the band’s multi-genre sound. It’s evil. Me likes. 9.
Daew Scented: I dig the high-pitched howling here; it sounds a little Tompa-esque without as much power. It suits the bass-free music at hand perfectly, though after about four songs he starts to grate on the ear. I’d say 8.
Inbred: I’m not shocked to hear that you can only take four songs of James’ abrasive vocals, seeing as your ear canal has been ravaged by my purple-covered flesh rocket about 10,000 times. I’ll meet you halfway (again) with an 8.5, however the little Inquisitor will continue to go all the way in and there is not a damn thing you can do about it! 8.5.
GungadIN: What needs to be said about the bass has already been said. It totally receives the people’s elbow from both the dominating guitars and thunderous drums. I must admit though, the music really does not suffer as a result. Give us your thoughts and a score D Street, and let’s move on down the road.
Avenue D: Yeah, if the bass were in a Ludacris video, ‘bows would be thrown upon it. It would be crying, crawling to the bar to drink some more Haterade. I give it a N/A. Which is totally radical and crazy, I know, but I’m gonna do it.
Intersection of 1st and 1st: No number? You crazy boy. Crazy! I say it’s a 5 because that’s right in the middle.
IloveArsis: Mike Van Dyne’s performance on “A Celebration of Penis” is straight-forward and blistering. His double bass work alternates from fast to really fucking fast. While his blasting is not on the level of Kollias, Inferno, or Culross, Mikey Venereal Disease has no problems kicking it at high speeds. He changes tempos faster than Daemonomania changes his underwear while listening to Runemagick, just listen to “Seven whispers fell silent”. While Malone gets the credit for being the creative force behind Arsis, it is clear to anyone who knows anything that the band is 100% better with Mike behind the drums. Long story short, ze drumming on here kicks ass. I’m thinking a niner niner, good buddy.
Daerummer: You are assuming I wear underwear while listening to Runemagick. Hell no I don’t – would just get in the way. So yeah, this dude definitely deserves a 9 piece for his merciless drum molestation. Each song gets its pounding fever pitch from behind the kit.
IwatchJerseyshore: Arsis’ lyrics are a step up from the usual “I love Satan, I hate Christians…and everyone else” themes that you would find in metal of the death and black variety. Guilt, regret, relationships, evil holidays…it’s all covered here.
Daelta Blues: Yeah, the lyrical content is undoubtedly unique. Or maybe it isn’t, but I haven’t heard much in the techdeff field that competes with it. Usually these guys either sing about foul anus autopsies (the ‘Phag) or weird future sci-fi stuff (the ‘Crop) or mechanical stuff. Not Arsis. They’re all about poetic lamentations of mournful breakup text messages. Solid.
Inmuddywaters: Oh yeah buddy, I always sing along with “Maddening disdain” and “Face of my innocence”. And this is not really sing-along type music ya know? 9.
Iaimtoplease: Arsis’ cover art is always outstanding, and “A Celebration of Guilt” is no exception. Zombies and satanic goat heads are always welcome on the cover of extremely blackened death thrash albums.
Daetest of Faith: Yeah, this is a cool cover. Who is responsible for these works of evil? Whoever it is delivers time and time again no matter what the quality of the melotech on the disc inside.
Innominaepatri: I can’t find the guy’s name right now (thanks work firewall) but his work is teh shit. I give it a 9.5. and that’s that.
It smells in here: The band’s logo is relatively simple but effective; I like the slight medieval touch to the letters on the ends. It looks pretty evil.
I Blame Dae Dog: I dunno. With that cool cover picture you’d expect a logo that’s a bit more involved. I could draw a better one than this, which is not a good sign at all. 4.5 pal. What are you gonna do about that?
Iowch: I am going to post a 4.5 on the door to the ladies room and a 7 on the door to the men’s room. That’s what I am going to do. The readers can decide whether or not they sit and piss or stand up and poop like a man.
Washington Dae Cae: Supik burned me a copy, and I’m ashamed to say I have yet to replace it with an original copy. Sorry. So therefore I cannot rate the booklet.
I can’t either: I can’t either, my copy of this is bizzurned as well because my original was stolen along with a huge chunk of my old CD collection many moons ago. It is a painful memory. I need therapy.
Overall and ending rant
Daeson Vacuum: There’s a reason this made ole Daembro’s top 30 of the 2000’s list. We’re talking some hard-hitting but still melodic and deeply catchy technical death metal that takes hints from The Lords of All That is Metal (Death) but put a modern spin on it (lots ‘o blasting). Powerful and impressive shizznizzle.
It sucks like a Hoover: This was on my Top 30 list as well. On “A Celebration of Guilt” Arsis take the melodic death metal that was created by bands like At the Gates and In Flames in the 90’s and grind it together with 21st century technicality and brutality. And some black metal vocals. What you get is an awesome album that has put Arsis on the extreme metal map. “Addening disdain”, “Face of my innocence” and “The sadistic motives behind bereavement letters” will never get old to me. While they slipped a bit following this beautiful baby up, Arsis are still a unique and tight band. BatMalone and Robin Van Dyne are a dynamic duo and this is their greatest tag team effort.
- Released: 2004
- Label: Willowtip
- Website: Arsis MySpace
- James “Give ‘em hell” Malone: guitars, bass and vocals
- Michael “Dick” Van Dyne: drums
- 01. The Face of My Innocence
- 02. Maddening Disdain
- 03. Seven Whispers Fell Silent
- 04. Return
- 05. Worship Depraved
- 06. Carnal Ways to Recreate the Heart
- 07. Dust and Guilt
- 08. Elegant and Perverse
- 09. The Sadistic Motives Behind Bereavement Letters
- 10. Looking to Nothing
- 11. Wholly Night