Arsis
We Are the Nightmare


4.5
superb

Review

by Kit Brown USER (73 Reviews)
May 18th, 2008 | 55 replies | 8,955 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Database crashes suck. This album definitely doesn't though.

Let’s face it – Even Arsis fans were at least a little bit disappointed by their last album, United In Regret. I still enjoy the album from time to time, but it’s very easy to pick out what went wrong with the 2006 LP. The mixing was poor, James’ vocals weren’t as good as they had been on past recordings, and the overall songwriting didn’t seem as memorable. Sure, the guitar playing was top-notch, but we’d heard Malone and company do much better on their highly acclaimed EP, A Diamond For Disease. The only song from United In Regret that I think will stick with Arsis throughout their career will be “The Cold Resistance”. Lots of people wrote off the band and assumed that they wouldn’t top what their first two releases had done. I don’t want to go ahead and say that We Are the Nightmare tops their near-flawless debut, A Celebration of Guilt, but damn does it come close.

Arsis is no longer the two man project that it once was. James Malone is now joined by musicians Ryan Knight, Noah Martin and Darren Cesca behind him on guitar, bass, and drums respectively. When I first heard that every member contributed to writing We Are the Nightmare rather than just James, I was a bit hesitant mostly because I loved A Celebration of Guilt so much. The addition of the new rhythm section as well as Ryan Knight’s songwriting has really helped the band escape the grave that many listeners feel they dug for themselves. Knight’s new songwriting on songs like “Sightless Wisdom”, which he wrote all himself, shows a new, catchier side to Arsis, while still maintaining the insane tap-sweep shred that should impress almost anyone. While they don’t sound anything alike, you could draw the comparison of what happened to Protest the Hero between Kezia and Fortress.

While this album stays rooted in the trademark Arsis sound, the album’s ten menacing tracks don’t mind jumping genres every few minutes or so. “We Are the Nightmare” starts off soft, jumps into a melodic black-metal riffage ala Satyricon’s Nemesis Divina, which eventually goes to a chorus that you might expect someone like Shadows Fall to play. “Servants to the Night” plays around with a rockin’-good chorus in between the technical death metal parts. And “Failure’s Conquest” starts with a huge, open-chord intro right before entering what could be the most epic guitar solo on the whole album.

But fear not! The technical/melodic death metal hybrid that Arsis usually plays is in full force here. “Shattering the Spell” is a prime example, which sounds like Necrophagist on crack with an added super-catchy part a minute into the song. “A Feast for the Liar’s Tongue” is probably the band’s fastest song to date and refuses to let up the entire time thanks to Cesca’s incredibly fast blast beats and double bass work. The opening riff to “Progressive Entrapment” is quite the headbanger, containing that heavy punch death metal is known for. These are just a handful of examples, but We Are the Nightmare is Arsis’ most dynamic and fun album to date. The songs branch off and touch different genres, yet at the same time still stay rooted in Arsis’ trademarked sound.

Even with the newly added musicians, Malone still remains the focal point of Arsis. It’s impossible to listen to this album without noticing how damn good of a guitarist he really is, whether it’s the legato licks in the verses of “Shattering the Spell” or the opening leads to “Failing Winds of Hopeless Greed”. The riffs are also twice as impressive knowing that James does vocals over them live. While the Malone praise is certainly warranted, Ryan Knight still gives one hell of a performance too. Knight takes several solos throughout and flawlessly tackles some of the song’s more challenging riffs and leads. Malone’s vocals are also back in full force on here and sound much more full than they did on United In Regret. Cesca’s low growls are also a nice compliment in songs like “Progressive Entrapment” and “Shattering the Spell”.

The bass and drums are what I’m sure many listeners of this album would gripe about… myself included. Noah Martin is a great bassist (if you don’t believe me, listen to the band Suspyre), but the bass is barely audible throughout the album. The only time that he’s even just a bit noticeable is during “Shattering the Spell” where he mimics the guitars in their tapping insanity. It’s a real treat when you can hear it, but it only comes in little bursts that can’t be heard well. Darren Cesca, while clearly being faster and more talented than Mike Van Dyne, can be a bit annoying at times. The prime example of this is in the song “Overthrown”, which could very well be the best song on the album. The intro starts off great, but then Cesca places an odd, stuttered 16th/32nd note combination over the guitars, which ends up sounding like he’s messing up rather than playing something difficult. The snare drum is also very loud in the mix, so the blast beats can sometimes detract from the guitars and vocals.

Overall, We Are the Nightmare just screams success. Arsis is back with their most accessible and musically impressive album yet. I’m scared to say that this is better than A Celebration of Guilt, but with time who knows?

Suggested Listening:
Overthrown
Failure’s Conquest
A Feast for the Liar’s Tongue
Shattering the Spell



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user ratings (472)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
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...

Tyler Munro EMERITUS (3.5)
This album actually doesn't suck....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Poet
May 18th 2008


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've listened to A Diamond for Disease so I might check this out.

Database crashes suck. This album definitely doesn't though.


Best summary ever.

SynGates
May 18th 2008


2467 Comments


Great review man.
I love that melody in "My Oath to Madness" if you know what I mean.

Thor
May 18th 2008


10191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This whole database crash thing can S my D

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

can i sunny your delight as well?

Thor
May 18th 2008


10191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

As long as we cuddle afterwards, sure.

Pebster49
May 19th 2008


2992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review thor! About time you did it for your boys Arsis, lol.

edit: didn't know about the data crash.This Message Edited On 05.19.08

TeamExcelcior
June 10th 2008


246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thor, your eloquent words of wisdom do this album justice. However, James isn't really the focal point on this album. Ryan Knight actually plays all of the leads on the songs that James wrote and they both solo equally. Ryan Knight might actually be better than James (gasp!). Cessca is a monster though.
Again, mega awesome review!

Sound
July 14th 2008


3901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree with pretty much everything you said except I think the drumming here fits the overall sound quite good.

One of the better albums I've heard this year. As soon as I heard Shattering the Spell and the title track, I knew I had to check this out.



This Message Edited On 07.14.08

Smileyface
July 14th 2008


309 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

man i love this band

McP3000
July 14th 2008


3941 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I've listened to A Celebration of Guilt, which is pretty good. I also have this but ive never gotten around to it. This review has made me put this at the top of my to-listen to list.

Poet
July 14th 2008


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ARHHHHH LET'S MAKE A DEAL!!!!

I need to listen to this now. I loved A Dimond for Disease.

Crimson
July 14th 2008


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ADFD is about 100x better than this at least, seriously. this is very not good compared to that.

asdemonsburn
July 14th 2008


793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nothing will ever beat ADFD, but this album is fantastic nonetheless.

rasputin
July 14th 2008


14544 Comments


I don't think it's that good

Tyler
Emeritus
July 14th 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's amazing by Arsis standards so just okay to good by normal standards.

yas666eer
September 25th 2008


270 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

good review... album is alright... but didn't find anything great in it

Thor
September 25th 2008


10191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I actually gave this another full listen today. Still one of my favorite albums of this year. It's just flat out fun.

iamthenightmare
September 25th 2008


754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed sir.

at least one person on this site appreciates them as much as i do

Sound
September 25th 2008


3901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Make that three.

Thor
September 25th 2008


10191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Everyone used to love them back when Shadows started promoting them, but now it's like cool to hate them or something. Whatever, band/album is great.



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