Music

Arsis: Starve for the Devil

Arsis delivers their latest opus of technical death metal. It's more of the same, and more of what the fans love.


Arsis

Starve for the Devil

Label: Nuclear Blast
US Release Date: 2010-02-09
UK Release Date: 2010-02-05
Label website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

In many ways, Arsis is the one band in the American death metal scene that manages to distinguish itself by playing a different style from the rest of the bands in the scene. However, the way they manage to separate themselves is by latching onto another scene, in this case the European death metal scene. Arsis has consistently drawn much of their sound from Heartwork and Swansong-era Carcass, as well as At the Gates, Soilwork, and (unsurprisingly) Arch Enemy. This is not a bad formula, since numerous other bands besides Arsis have followed it to success in the past; Quo Vadis and Neuraxis are two immediately obvious examples of this. Implementing this formula without becoming stale is something that very few bands are able to do all the time. Arsis is one of the lucky few that can execute the formula and retain the freshness and vitality of their sound, and their latest album, Starve for the Devil, is yet another achievement in this area.

The thing that maintains the Arsis's high level of appeal is that their songs pull listeners in immediately and don’t let go. Starve for the Devil extends this reputation very well, since every song on the album starts out with harsh, aggressive riffs that catch the ear very easily. It is fairly obvious that lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter James Malone wrote this album from an angry emotional space. Every single song on this album is biting, violent, and unforgiving in both riffs and solos. The drums only add to this image, as the return of founding drummer Mike Van Dyne completely reinvigorates the rhythm section of Arsis. In fact, the biggest area of improvement over 2008’s We Are the Nightmare is in the drumming. Van Dyne’s double bass work is at its highest level, and he completely blows away Darren Cesca’s performance (which was still quite good) on We Are the Nightmare.

The technical aspects of Arsis are a big part of what separates them from other American death metal bands, and while they are not as numerous or noticeable as they were on the band’s earlier work, they are still vital to the sound. Starve for the Devil displays many of the elements the band became famous for in the first place, such as split-second time changes and highly intricate solos. What makes up for the low quantity and prominence of these elements on this album is the fact that the whole record moves faster than anything else Arsis has ever recorded. The increased speed makes the technical elements that much more impressive and enjoyable when they do appear. It also helps ensure that some songs on the album remain memorable long afterwards, whereas if they were slower, they would be easily forgotten.

Starve for the Devil is definitely a great release for Arsis, and it shows that they’re still on top of their game, even with some of the personal issues that have plagued the band in recent years. This album will definitely keep fans coming back for more, and will also help bring new fans into the fold with its fiery, thrash-infused atmosphere. Arsis may be following a formula, but their execution is flawless, and this latest album shows us why.

8

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image