Arsis
We Are the Nightmare


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
May 17th, 2008 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This album actually doesn't suck.

Believe me when I say that in the past it has been more than easy to make fun of Arsis. Still, I give credit where it’s due; A Diamond for Disease is a modern death metal classic. But it’s only one song, and that is why Arsis often gets a thrashing. See, A Diamond for Disease (song) ruled, but it was on three-song EP, and the other two tracks absolutely blew. It’s a continuing trend with Arsis. They’ve always teetered on something awesome but tilted to the ***ty side, more often than failing to realize their potential. A Celebration of Guilt is a borderline enjoyable album marred by excessive distortion and layering. United in Regret flat out sucks, but even still there are hints of something good that glimmer throughout, and we’ve already been over the A Diamond for Disease EP. Approaching We Are the Nightmare, I drew a line in the sand: Put up or shut up.

Once again, I have mixed reactions. The only difference here is that compared to past outings, Arsis’ junior full-length is mostly decent. It bridges the gap between their previous full-lengths, mixing melody with overbearing wankery more fluidly than I’d have expected. Gone is the obtrusive layering found on A Celebration of Guilt, and James Malone has certainly lessened the emphasis on his “check me out” lead-work. Of course there has never been an element of bashfulness in Arsis’ sound and We Are the Nightmare is no exception. To their credit, the lead-work is absurdly well-executed from a technical standpoint, though the sheer multitude of shred on the album becomes more of a detriment with each passing song (and more so with each listen). The drums follow suit; though Darren Cesca is without question leaps-and-bounds better than previous drummer Mike Van Dyne, the percussive faults of United in Regret ultimately still rein true. Oftentimes, the drumming seems to embody the group’s ever-present inner-competition. Though it’s far less obvious than it’s been in the past, there’s a constant sense of one-upmanship to be heard, and while it obviously snowballs the album’s technical appeal, in the end the masturbatory machismo increases the overall futility of the shredwork. The consistent weedle-sweeps and dweedle-taps paired with the ridiculous amount of drum-fills eventually blur together and become a hindrance, as the excessiveness of it all lessens each technical display’s impact, cheapening We Are the Nightmare’s initial flair to a blatant cry for attention.

As much as these notions come off as negatives, there is nonetheless an unmistakeable balance on We Are the Nightmare. Malone’s apparent obsession with tightropes (you’ll notice the word popping up more than a handful of times throughout the album’s runtime) serve as a fitting metaphor for his music, as each instrument walks along one, occasionally falling off, only to be sustained by safety net; in the case of this extended metaphor, a relatively strong song structure. Each track seems to be built off a solid and relatively simple foundation, with the technical flamboyance seemingly layered on afterward. As a result of this the songs remain wholly listenable long-after the technicality becomes a chore to notice.

Chocking in at a modest 40-minutes, We Are the Nightmare does tend to drag at parts. At times, the group fails to abandon an idea while it’s still fresh, vying instead to test the listeners patience. There is also very little distinction between songs, and while there are no bands that sound like Arsis, Arsis’ sound is not strong enough to stay within itself for the entire duration of the album. It’s easy to forgive Malone’s grossly sub-par vocal work, just as it’s easy to look beyond the occasionally awkward sounding drums, but We Are the Nightmare is most easily faulted (and conversely appreciated) for the fact that it is such a literal blend of their past-outings. Long-since established fans of the band will obviously take pleasure in Arsis’ refined formula, but if what this group does has never clicked with you on any level, chances are that this album will provide only the slightest amount of joy. While it’s become obvious that they’ll never match the urgency and passion of their 13-minute epic, it’s becoming even more apparent that you can’t expect them to. Much like I have, it is time for listeners to put A Diamond for Disease behind them and accept Arsis for what they have become: solid.



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user ratings (475)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Kit Brown (4.5)
Database crashes suck. This album definitely doesn't though....

Nate B. (4)
Arsis returns to a slightly different form with their best album to date....

Greg Majewski (3.5)
Arsis deliver their best work yet. A streamlined sound and hooks galore more than make up for the oc...

Mike Stagno EMERITUS (2)
Somehow, We Are the Nightmare is even more boring than United in Regret...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Eakflanderyof
May 17th 2008


2143 Comments


Really good review. I've heard the title track and it was okay, but I think I'll pass on the album because Arsis is fairly mediocre to me.

TheIronWeasel
May 18th 2008


123 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, I disagree with it, but great review.

Hawks
May 18th 2008


35838 Comments


I heard a couple of songs from this album and they were very good. Gotta buy this when i get some damn money.

TheDrew
May 20th 2008


30 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

one of the best albums of the year. really phoenominal guitar leads!

TeamExcelcior
June 10th 2008


246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree wholeheartedly. This and Mirrorthrone's "Gangrene" are the albums to b beat for best this year. The great thing about this album i that Arsis maintains a consistent style throughout the CD, but no two songs really sound alike.

moltenlava
July 5th 2008


312 Comments


Of all the extreme death bands who write songs where you can't tell one tune from the next, this one happens to be my favourite. All of the tunes sound exactly the same, but dang that stuff gets you pumped, especially for driving...drunk. It's like four albums with 40 plus minutes of the same song, but I gotta admit, I'm just lovin' it. I can't wait until the next CD with the same exact songs comes out. And, if I really want monotony stabbing away at my brain, there's always Goatwhorre and Pig Destroyer, oh and Origin too. After I listen to that stuff I'm left in a state of total catatonia where I just schitt all over myself and stare out of two vacant, black eye sockets, drooling into my lap. Great effect and brilliant music. Bravo. It's like a labotomy, but it comes in a digital aural form.





A7XEric
December 15th 2008


310 Comments


Definitely the most spot on review out of the bunch we have here on Sputnik. Listening to 1 song can get you stoked to hear the rest, but once you realize every song sounds the same and the song structuring is void of any consistency it's hard to like it as much. And as much as I love great guitar work and harmonized leads, it's just too much on WatN.

NumbersNZ
March 3rd 2009


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review but again i'm going to have to disagree. I'm always partial to a bit of technical wankery and the guitar leads in this are pretty bloody good. Also James Malone is up there in terms of dual singing/shredding stakes, don't know how he can focus on both at the same time. Fully understand about the comment on blending of songs and by god are there alot of bands nowdays that that seems to run true for but i think the variety of the guitar leads especially (the drumming is much of a muchness) make each song stand out enough to differentiate. It also helps that James's singing style means his lyrics are enunciated far better than most singer.

Vano
June 26th 2009


94 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't get the lack of love for this band. Arsis has always made an impression on me for their musicianship and songwriting. I just bought this album some 3 days ago and I've listened to it 6 times all ready!

Muhammedftw
August 16th 2009


28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really good review. I love this album

MizaelMassacre
September 10th 2009


48 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ive only heard this ablum but it was amazing
i love tech death

BritishPastries
September 20th 2009


20 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not a terribly great album, in my opinion. It's worth buying though, I suppose.
Standouts being "Shattering the Spell," "A Feast For The Liars Tongue," and "Progressive Entrapment."

devouredbymetal
October 25th 2009


516 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is good!!!....mighty guitaring....but sometimes it gets "over-melodic"

Dystopic
October 25th 2009


183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Blasphemy! I understand what you mean, the album gets too caught in it's technicality and song progressions seem awkward. I love melody though, no matter how incessant it may be...

devouredbymetal
October 26th 2009


516 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dont get me wrong i love technicality and awkward progressions, off-beats, poly-rhythms all of that....but yeah again, imo melody going maximum is not what i like a lot....

Dystopic
October 26th 2009


183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know, it's all good. This album is easily in my top 10 albums - the chorus of 'Failing Winds of Hopeless Greed' gets me everytime. Can't believe what a step up 'We are the Nightmare' is in comparison to it's less than stellar predecessors.

Se2ondComing
January 15th 2010


178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

who else thinks this sounds like a rehashed version of death?

Itwasthatwas
January 29th 2010


772 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

album sucks and production ruins any positives it has

ConsideredDead
November 20th 2010


121 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dont agree with this review at all. From it's opinion on 'Celebration' to the notion that 'We Are the Nightmare' is somehow superior to that album.

Wow.

A little too much wankery on this album for my tastes. It's still a solid album though, just not on the same level as some of Arsis' previous output.

dogmaster
February 8th 2011


74 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the multiple tightrope mentions gets me pretty irritated honestly

the rating system really fails me on this one.. it's not really average or poor, but most feels like filler to me



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