Arsis
A Diamond For Disease EP

The word melodic gets thrown around like food when Anna Nicole Smith eats a buffet; a word chucked into death metal to show something other than sheer brutality, but other than a few solos, what makes death metal truly melodic?.Arsis, that’s what.

Let me tell you, the 13 minute center piece of this criminally teasing EP was written to accompany the Ballet Deviare is a dizzying display is melodic extremity, stunningly symphonic artful dissection and flat out fucking sickening skill. It’s a pity the rest of the EP is a bit of a let down (a cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘Roses on White Lace’, and the splendid but short ‘The Promise of Never’), but for ‘A Diamond for Disease’ alone, this is a worthy purchase.

The Wagnerian approach to the guitar work is beyond the usual melodic death metal frivolity making even the chaotic yet epic Epoch of Unlight and the most urgent early melodics of Dark Tranquility look like Crowbar on barbiturates. It has to be heard to be believed. James Malone’s progressive yet slicing riffage is Dream Theater on Meth while listening to Human. Its so goddamned sonorous yet biting hat the whole 13 minutes I’m left enraptured and enthralled as the vortex of skill swirls about me. It’s not pretentious or showy either, as each angle and note has purpose and place within the framework of the song’s epic majesty. The pace and genius is also kept up for the entire 13 minutes with delicate shifts in structure and pacing while the guitar work all while shimmers with operatic confidence. Even at its restrained later stages the wind in the hair, atop a mountain solo work is breathtaking. The track left me awestruck.

Having never heard an Alice Cooper song in my life, I can’t comment on the cover track, but it seems jazzed up with Malone’s mind numbing guitar work. ‘The Promise of Never’, a re-recorded demo track, is along the lines of the material on A Celebration of Guilt but is over virtually after it begins, leaving the EP’s title track as the only truly dynamic song on this release. As with A Celebration of Guilt the James Murphy mastering is crystal clear, if slightly baseless, but it allows the guitars to air out and cut a swathe of precision through the swarming, controlled chaos.

The question is can Arsis deliver yet another 8-10 song album of this type of intensity and graceful savagery? I can’t wait to find out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 18th, 2005

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