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Arsis - We Are The Nightmare

Label: Nuclear Blast USA
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: The Goat
Arsis are possibly best known for supporting an other, albeit unlikely, act, a ballet troupe, Ballet Deviare. At that time, Arsis was as it was in its inception, a two piece act. According to Arsis' bio, they formed in 2000 during their college winter break. I must confess, I am not as familiar with their back catalogue which constitutes 2 full lengths and 1 EP. So, what can be said for Arsis' “We Are The Nightmare”?
It is definitely technical death metal. The production is good, as one could expect from Zeuss. There is a definitely a thrashy edge to the songs. Yet, despite their obvious competency with the form, they are not really that loose. Listening to “We Are…” you can sort of hear that there is a disconnect between the band members. The songs are very strong but the band could definitely benefit from touring together more.

Ok, so what else? There are blastbeats galore but I think this is where the difficulty lies. James Malone is a skilled guitar player and has chops to spare but the blastbeats leave something missing. Darren Cesca goes balls out with the drumming and Zeuss truly brings out the intensity of the blastbeats. Yet, the guitars are somewhat overly melodic and full of swirling flourishes, which at times fits and then doesn't. While highly technical, there is not much groove or aggressiveness in “We Are…”. When groove does appear, like in “Overthrown,” it is sounds very academic.

Arsis will most likely appeal to those that dig the more technical death metalheads. Personally, I need some aggression and some groove to truly draw me in completely. Otherwise, I am left wondering how this is different from the other tech metal bands out there? We are inundated with technical death metal bands, which okay if they disturb the senses. I think Arsis is better than most and has the upper hand with technicality but now they need to find their groove
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