Review Summary: Now with an extra helping of cheeeeeeeeeseWe Are The Nightmare
is an intensely entertaining album. The lead work is simply amazing, or “absurdly well-executed” to quote Tyler Munro, and the drumming was constantly at a high level. Yes, sometimes they got lost in their own wank, but for the most part the best released a positively crushing album, with some amazing guitarwork. Now, with an album with the level of praise the We Are The Nightmare
got, you would think the band would find a way to continue on their path all while taking a step forward. However, what you end up with here is an album that feels like the band pulled up its pants too soon, and ended up pissing all over their jeans.
The one positive on the album is definitely the lead-work, yet again. The leads are once again top notch and the riffs stay entertaining. However, the way the album is produced makes it sound like Children of Bodom’s overdone guitar work with little to no seriousness involved. Every lead with potential comes with a feeling like the band is winking at you and going, “Do you like our Testament impression?” Unfortunately, this feeling never leaves throughout the entire album.
Next up is the horrific vocals and lyrics of James Malone. Honestly, this album would have benefited nicely from some operatic vocals. Why not just go all the way? Tim “Ripper” Owens would not sound out of place doing the vocals. I bet the old Ripper could probably actually write some lyrics too, unlike the horrific sludge being spewed from Malone’s mouth. In fact, this entire album sounds like something Jon Schaeffer would have cooked up, in one of his less over-reaching moments. Allegedly this album is all about Malone’s previous bouts with anorexia (the most metal of diseases) and the lyrics are a ridiculous allusion to that.
The main problem with this album is the fact that it all feels so derivative. Arsis tossed their (relatively) unique sound away in favor of aping 80’s thrash and power metal. This album feels like a giant tribute album to those era’s, except with Malone doing his best impression of Angela Gossow in the vocal department. There is not one drop of originality on this entire album, with less than subtle winks towards better bands of an era long gone. The only thing that can’t be helped but wondered is did Arsis do this album to see how faithful their fans truly are?
Virginia’s Arsis have apparently decided that the best way to write an album about anorexia is to make music that members of Children of Bodom go, “Ugh, that is corny,” and add an intense amount of laughable lyrics delivered in a disgusting way. Yes, there are melodies aplenty, however, it all has such a cheese coating that it simply can not be taken seriously. What a horrible let down after the amazing We Are The Nightmare
. One only hopes that Arsis realizes this horrifying mistake and make the changes necessary to keep it from being repeated.