Arsis - A Celebration of Guilt

posted by Greg, Friday July 23, 2004 @ 04:44:01 PM

Artist: Arsis (
Album: A Celebration of Guilt
Release Date: March 9th, 2004
Label: Willowtip

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Tracks: The Face of My Innocence, Seven Whispers Fell Silent, Worship Depraved

Labeling someone as being guilty of hypocrisy usually means they are a horrible person who deserves to die, but comparisons to Hypocrisy in the metal world are something worth striving for. The legendary Swedish death metal banded headed up by equally legendary producer Peter Tatgren and company pumped out a slew of classic metal tunes in the mid to late 90's, and are still going strong today. What does that have to do with Arsis? Well hopefully, with the release of their new album A Celebration Of Guilt, they too will be embarking on a similarly long and successful career path.

Why all the Hypocrisy comparisons? Well, for one thing Arsis sounds an awful lot like early 90's-era Hypocrisy. Arsis singer James Monroe certainly doesn't look much like a diminutive Swedish superproducer, but a blind man wouldn't be able to tell a difference between the two, as he gives an excellent vocal performance eerily reminiscent of Peter Tatgren's work on the mic with his band. Go listen to early Hypocrisy such as Osculum Obscenum or Fourth Dimension and tell me that Arsis, like many other bands, doesn't worship at the throne of Tatgren. It's pretty much the same sound, but definitely not the same music.

In fact, the music itself smokes. The reason I am now the proud owner of this album is because I was so impressed with seeing them live that I had to go buy their cd just so I could play it on WREKage later that night and share my experience with everyone. Arsis play a blend of semi-technical death metal that's kinda a cross between several bands, with the occasional blazing guitar solos of an Arch Enemy or an Iced Earth, mixed in with the constant attention to melody of a (surprise!) Hypocrisy or early In Flames. It all comes together song after song throughout the whole album, as Monroe's guitar pyrotechnics dance all over a furious, constant double bass pounding and steadying bass lines that serve as the backbone of the musical beast being birthed on this album.

Okay... so it's standard straight-forward melodic death metal that's been done a million times by a million other bands (like Hypocrisy, for instance), but really, what hasn't been done in death metal yet? These days it seems that good metal albums are measured more in the energy and excitement in which the band plays rather than if they're doing anything new or spectacularly exciting. It's a shame the genre is a bit stagnated like that right now, but it's also easy to tell when a band is taking the time to put feeling behind their songs rather than just mechanically churning out mindless double bass downtuned riff-fests for a paycheck.

Arsis has emotion in their songs in spades, and hopefully they will be among the forefront of other newer metal bands who are currently carrying the torch for American metal (they're from Virginia). This album definitely deserves your time, and Arsis deserves your full support anytime they are playing at a show near you. If you live around WREKage's broadcasting area in metro Atlanta, or love travelling to metal shows in general, then you owe it to yourself to see them headlining the Utter Destruction Fest on August 14th at Breaker's in Jonesboro. You won't be disappointed, I can guarantee you that since they put on one hell of a performance. In fact, if you call yourself a fan of metal and can't bring yourself to like these guys, that would be downright hypocritical of you.

- Greg

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