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Arsis: Starve for the devil

24/02/10  ||  InquisitorGeneralis

Besides my hometown homeboys Misery Index, I think Arsis is the best thing we yanks have to offer the global metal community: the band’s unique mixture of technical structures, black metal speed and vocals, thrash-inspired guitars, and straight-up death metal brutality has always helped them stand out from the crowd of 55,000,000 extreme metal bands out there. Unfortunately line-up changes and personal issues have always held the band back from reaching the success it fucken deserves… until now. “Starve for the Devil” should finally give Arsis the credit and success their cumuppins.

With original drummer Mike Van Dyne back in the line-up and frontman/writer James Malone healthy again, and a deal with Nuclear Blast Arsis is rebooted and ready to fucken dominate. I had my doubts until I saw them recently on the opening night of their tour as support for Exodus and Arch Enemy and, thankfully, the band is back to “A Celebration of Guilt” form. I rarely buy cd’s at shows but I like these guys and wanted to give ‘em some direct support so I picked up their newest offering “Starve for the Devil” and have been hooked on its goodness ever since.

First of all the band is fucking on point. With Nick Cordle handling alot of the leads and solos it is clear that James has been able to focus on Teh Riffs and they are definitely Teh Awesome on “Suck for the Penis”. These two have the chops to be one of the best guitar duos around. More on them in a minute. While Darren Cesca’s performance on “We Are the Nightmare” was good Van Dyne is just a better fit for Arsis: less techchoppy, much more groovy and aggressive. While his playing on “SFTD” is a bit slower in terms of blasts and all-out insanity than on “A Celebration…” and “United in Regret” Scott still impresses behind the kit, this time with more death influenced groove and footwork. Slower yes, but still heavy as fuck and extremely enjoyable.

“Beyond forlorn” best represents what Arsis is doing, and doing extremely well, on “Starve for devil”: great riffs, a slower pace, and more melody mixed in. Don’t be scared by the melody, Arsis is not getting In Flames on us and pussying the fuck out. Thankfully though, James and the gang have realized that you do not need to play at 50,000 RPM’s to be br00tal or extreme. Also, the production is excellent and much improved from “We are the Nightmare”, especially the drums which have a much fuller, heavier sound.

“The ten of swords” (nice Tarot reference) is another excellent track that again is not too hyper-blasted to the 10th degree. “A march for the sick” has more of the feel spastic feel of early Arsis material and was pretty fucking awesome live. Here, and on almost every other song, James and Nick trade of flawless on riffs and solos. These two really tear shit up. “Sick perfection” and “Escape artist” help the album finish strong.

One of my biggest surprises after listening to “Starve for the devil” is the lack of uninspired, filler material. Previous Arsis albums, especially “United In Regret” which has some of the most incredible and forgettable Arsis songs, have suffered from lackluster bottoms (so have many of my girlfriends). Not here, the quality goes from beginning to end. The only flaw I can find is the lack of a total titties penis touchdown song that stands out clearly from the rest. “Celebration…” has “Face of my innocence” while “United in Regret” has the mindblower title track. Still, every track on here is distinct and enjoyable which is more than can be said for either of those two earlier efforts.

I readily admit to being a huge fan of Arsis but I am willing to call a piece of shit a piece of shit… and this ain’t it buster brown. “Starve for the Devil” is an excellent release with complex but not-insane, directionless songs and almost no filler material. This is pretty close to being a melodic, technical death metal masterpiece and about as good as your going to get from that subgenre. Seriously, if you are a fan of extreme metal of any variety I would recommend checking “Starve for the Devil” out, it’s that damn good.

9

  • Information
  • Released: 2010
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Website: Arsis MySpace
  • Band
  • James Malone: guitar, vocals
  • Mike Van Dyne: drums
  • Nick Cordle: guitar
  • Nathaniel Carter: bass
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Forced to Rock
  • 02. A March for the Sick
  • 03. From Soulless to Shattered (Art in Dying)
  • 04. Beyond Forlorn
  • 05. The Ten of Swords
  • 06. Closer to Cold
  • 07. Sick Perfection
  • 08. Half Past Corpse O’Clock
  • 09. Escape Artist
  • 10. Sable Rising