We Are the Nightmare

I have a great affinity for bands who possess exceptional technical skill, and also for bands with great hook writing ability without being to cheesy or poppy. Bands that can combine both of those elements though are a real rarity, especially when you figure in the nature of extreme metal.  Arsis is one such band, seamlessly melding technical superiority, extremity and memorable hooks with ease.Spectacular and jaw-dropping riffs, exceptional solos and leads, and vicious death/black vocals all highlight We Are the Nightmare. Since their last studio album, United in Regret, the melody has been upped somewhat and the technical wizardry harnessed to create a memorable, or dare I say catchy while heavy as a ton of lead album. There’s obviously been more thought put into each song as opposed to focusing on dazzling with absurd technical skill that flies over most people’s heads. There’s no need to worry though, as We Are the Nightmare is still loaded with skillful precision – it’s just slightly subdued to allow more musicality through, and presenting just flat out better written songs.

The jagged, stuttering, rapid-fire drum patterns of Darren Cesca are nothing short of amazing – sometimes blasting and sometimes displaying flashy hand-work, his skills really shine through on every track here. The real ear candy though is the astounding guitar work – James Malone and Ryan Knight is a tandem to be reckoned with. The title track, “Sightless Wisdom”, “Servants to the Night”, “A Feast For the Liar’s Tongue” and album closer “Failures Conquest” all serve as great reference points for their dominance of their instrument while retaining a great sense of melody and hook. As for the lyrics and vocals of Malone, I’ll just say this: hey emo bands, are you taking notes? This is how you write and present songs of pain and anguish without sounding like a whiney bitch.

The production of We Are the Nightmare is perfectly fitting – it allows all of the intricacies and nuances of the material to be fully heard and recognized. I’d credit Arsis with being one of the freshest sounding and most technically ambitious bands in extreme metal, let alone the over-saturated melodic death genre. To be completely honest, I was a bit worried of what this album would sound like when I heard that Malone would be letting the reigns go a bit and allow the other members to contribute to the writing process, but much to my delight, I’ve been foolishly shamed. Arsis not only proved me wrong, but they’ve flown right past any of their prior output with an album that can only be described as amazing, and one that pushes at what can be done within the confines of extreme metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
April 16th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Shockwave

    Yes, complete agree, and very happy they didn’t expand the united in regret sound. I’ve seen high praises everywhere about this album (Also a fruit who hated it and compared as a mix of Arch enemy and Dillinger). Thank you Arsis

  2. Commented by: swampthang

    eh the emo line was kinda childish but yep this is def a great album.

  3. Commented by: Staylow

    Just a poor stab at humor, nothing more.

  4. Commented by: fraeg

    picked it up today and Yowwwza. I think the biggest thing for me about arsis is that it is memorable. I have more tech death than i care to admit where i can’t name one song off the top of my head much less hum one of the tunes if i am not actively listening to the album. Other bands take note if after a few spins of your jaw dropping technical wizzardy i can’t remember a single riff after i put the album away, you have a problem.

  5. Commented by: vugelnox

    I like this band but I like them in the same way I enjoy Dimmu Borgir or Cannibal Corpse. Absolutely perfect for cranking up at a party, drinking and engaging in some impromptu air guitar antics and headbanging. Great live band too. Yet when I’m listening to music by myself and really want to absorb all the nuances of what a band has to offer I can’t seem to stay at all interested in this. After about ten minutes my attention begins to wander and I’m compelled to put something more engaging in my stereo.

  6. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Damn Good Record, better than United In Regret but MAN is that a dry fucking production

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