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 Arsis - A Celebration of Guilt (2004)

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PostSubject: Arsis - A Celebration of Guilt (2004)   September 17th 2010, 17:03

Technical/Melodic Death Metal
A Celebration of Guilt (2004)
James Malone - Guitars, Bass and Vocals
Michael Van Dyne - Drums
Track List:
1. The Face of My Innocence
2. Maddening Disdain
3. Seven Whispers Fell Silent
4. Return
5. Worship Depraved
6. Carnal Ways to Recreate the Heart
7. Dust and Guilt
8. Elegant and Perverse
9. The Sadistic Motives behind Bereavement Letters
10. Looking to Nothing
11. Wholly Night

Arsis, like cheese in a can, are quite possibly one of the greatest mysteries of this, or any, universe. They went from being an incredibly talented, two-man band who released an incredible work of musical artistry (Read: A Celebration of Guilt) to being a still-talented, but out-of-touch, technical jack-off quartet. After listening to this album for the first time, I was left in awe; I hurried to acquire the band's next two albums in the hopes of enjoying more of the technical, creative, and immensely enjoyable material showcased in A Celebration of Guilt. I'm sad to say that I was disappointed. Both United in Regret and We Are the Nightmare showed a fine amount of the same technicality, but it seemed as though the music had been sucked dry of any emotion and soul. Granted, I still haven't listened to Arsis' latest full-length effort; I'm afraid to. I'm afraid that I'll be still more disappointed and lose sight of the fact that Arsis really did put out one damn good record.

Regardless of what they went on to do later, on A Celebration of Guilt, Arsis show why they really deserve all the slobbering fanboys they managed to acquire. This album, simply put, kicks an insane amount of ass. It is, by definition, a true tour de force.

What makes this album so great? I'll tell you.

James Malone is, without a doubt, one of the most technically-gifted and skilled musicians in Metal today, and he makes no attempts at hiding it. Every single track on A Celebration of Guilt showcases a level of songwriting often unseen in modern Death Metal and its subgenres. The riffs are crushing, heavy, melodic, and they blend flawlessly together with the many impressive solos. There is nary a moment of boredom to be found, and if this album doesn't totally and completely grip you all the way through, I'll have to conclude that you have a severe mental handicap.

The guitar is not the only thing at which Malone is proficient. His vocals are powerful and show pure, raw emotion. However, he doesn't seem to have a whole lot of range. The vocals stay consistently high, and never really venture below midrange. This is hardly noticeable, as the vocals fit well with the style of music.

As for the bass, I found it relatively hard to hear. Either due to the fact that the production doesn't allow it to be clearly audible, or due to the fact that I always have a hard time noticing bass in the music I listen to anyway, I'm unable to tell whether Malone is equally as skilled in this area.

To conclude my long-winded discussion of James Malone, I want to talk about one final area in which he shines: Lyrics. The lyrics in A Celebration of Guilt are chock full of double entendres, symbolism, and a level of intelligence rarely seen in modern music.

For all the good that James Malone does here, one might think that Michael Van Dyne takes a bit of a back seat. Not so. Just as Malone leaves us knowing that he is a skilled guitarist and vocalist, Van Dyne makes us equally certain that he is a fantastic drummer. He is technical, able to keep perfect time, and adds a unique flavor to the music. And by "unique", I mean that his playing isn't fraught with incessant double-bassing and blast beats, as is so often the case with this genre. He makes use of a variety of different techniques and styles, ensuring that he is not soon to be forgotten.

With all that said, I'll leave you all with my favorite tracks and my final score.

Listen to these tracks:
-The Face of My Innocence
-Worship Depraved
-The Sadistic Motives behind Bereavement Letters
(Or: How to write an incredibly brutal, non-shitty breakdown)

A Celebration of Guilt
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PostSubject: Re: Arsis - A Celebration of Guilt (2004)   September 18th 2010, 06:16

Holy cow, that's a great review.
But I gotta admit, I've never ever heard an arsis song...
But I'll check the tracks out you recommended!
Thanks a lot dude!

Edit after listening: Wow, that's what i call technical medlodic death metal...the instrumentals are just sick as hell
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PostSubject: Re: Arsis - A Celebration of Guilt (2004)   September 18th 2010, 06:56

Haha, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. :]
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