Review Summary: Arsonists Get All The Girls give the best album they can give.
The Progressive/Experimental Deathcore band, Arsonists Get All the Girls, have been beating around the bush for quite a while now. The Game of Life was basically them trying to be creative in a generally repetitive genre, and it ended up being a mess. Portals showed us that they knew what they wanted to do with their sound, but they didn’t quite know how to do it. Their latest release, Motherland, is everything the band has been going for. You can tell by past releases that they had this album in them all the while, and I do believe that this is the best that Arsonists can do. Is this going to be album of the year? No, but it’s a great release nonetheless.
Everything in this album has a purpose. Every time the keyboard is used, it’s used right. The band knows they didn’t have to use the keyboard just because they could and it was there. While they use it quite frequently, they know what they’re doing with it. Even the very few breakdowns in this album have a reason for being played. Speaking of breakdowns, the outro to Hemlock Like This has the most unorthodox breakdown I have ever heard. They have taken the breakdown, and made it fun and interesting, and it’s not even live! That’s very impressive to me. They also have this habit of throwing in these little interludes during songs that are just so bouncy and fun to listen to, such as on Neck of the Contrast and Will Someone Please Turn Down The Ocean. If there was one word to describe this album, (this DEATHCORE album, may I remind you) it would be “creativity”. Just look at the song West Cliffs, it is a totally Piano and Percussion driven groovy little number that I think best showcases Arsonist’s progression. There is nothing generic about this album.
Every member of this band is great at what they do. The keyboardist plays parts that are none too simple, but not overly technical and full of wankery as to diminish the catchiness that gives this album quite a bit of its replay value. The drummer doesn’t really utilize too much fast double bass, but he does provide quick, skillful fills and rolls that prove him to be more than your average modern metal drummer, which is most evident in the song Tempest. Not to mention you can actually hear the bass! It’s beyond me why most Deathcore/Death Metal bands decide to mix the bass out of their music, but I’m very glad that Arsonists have not followed this trend. The bassist proves to be just as talented as the guitarists, most evidently in Avdotya and Hemlock Like This.
Nothing is without its faults, though, Motherland is far from perfect. They have a very powerful vocalist, but his style gets stale after a little while. The layered vocals get kind of annoying, and that’s used a fair bit on this album. Good thing they’re only used where they would be used best. The guitar, for the most part, is all about being technical and fast while forgetting to include the catchy, fun riffs. When they do include those, though, they’re worth it. I guess Arsonists are just trying to not be predictable, and this album is anything but predictable. Even what I dislike about Motherland has its reasons for being on the album, without those things it would feel like there was something missing.
Motherland is certainly a highlight of the Deathcore genre, and above all, it’s really just fun to listen to. It’s got groove, creativity, catchiness, and to a lesser extent, brutality. It’s not just a mess of wankery that a lot of things that claim to be “experimental” are, it’s an extremely well put together album by a band that finally figured out what they’re doing. I can’t see them topping this one; I think this is the pinnacle of Arsonists Get All The Girls’ ability. It’s a great album that is definitely worth your time. If you’re into music that goes beyond the norm, this is for you. If you weren’t a fan of Arsonists Get All The Girls before, you should check this out. If you were a fan of the band already, this will not be a disappointment.