Review Summary: A Celebration of Guilt is the perfect combination of melody, technicality, catchiness and brutality. Should you ever invest in modern American metal, let it be this.
There are some albums that change the way you look on a genre of music. Each style has one or a few releases that just make the listener go "...wow." I've had a few of these experiences before. Such is the case for the melodic death metal band Arsis and their release...
A Celebration of Guilt
Here's a little biography of the band just to fill you in on what they're all about. Arsis, a Virginia based duo, has come to change all of that. With merely two men, Arsis has created brutal, fast, technical, and amazingly melodic death metal capable of putting their Scandinavian predecessors to shame. Monsterous drumming, face-ripping solos, and spine-crushing riffs have formed a musical force that took no time at all to develope a dedicated following in the underground music world. Metal fans across the world hav embraced their debut, A Celebration of Guilt, as the pinnacle of modern american metal. And now with the arrival of their new EP A Diamond for Disease, Arsis relentlessly continues to release a pure metal onslaught that will either leave you banging your head or begging for mercy. (by ShadowsFallen)
James Malone - Vocals, Guitars, and Bass
Mike van Dyne -Drums
From the second the album kicks in with "The Face of My Innocence", I was entertained and amazed by these guys skill and songwriting ability. The first thing to say about these guys is their ability to just ignore trends alltogether which I deeply admire. American metal these days has been more or less along the lines of metalcore and nu-metal. Arsis doesn't seem to care at all and they have picked up somewhat of a Gothenburg sound which is very similar so such bands as At the Gates and maybe a bit of In Flames. Arsis isn't out to be popular. They aren't out to sell millions of records. It seems that they're simply out there to create great metal. You can't ask for more than that, now can you?
I first heard about Arsis from some of my friends at school. We were talking about technical bands and they were mentioned, so I went to go check them out. If you want a technical metal album, look no further than here. There are plenty of guitar and drum parts that are some of the best I've heard in recent years. Arsis sound a bit similar to Necrophagist in a way, but they take away some of the technicality to make it easier to listen to. This band has mastered the fine line of balancing technicality and songwriting to make a killer release.
James Malone is a man of many talents. As you can see from the band members, this man covers three different tasks in the band and does them all with flying colors. While his bass work throughout the album is often hard to hear, when you can hear it it's solid and compliments the songs greatly. Secondly, his vocals are wonderful. He has a voice similar such bands like Dissection, Arch Enemy, and Lamb of God in some parts. He's got the quintessential voice for melodic death metal. What makes it so enjoyable is that you can understand his lyrics without having to read them.
While these are all great parts about Malone, I haven't even mentioned his greatest part: his guitar work. Arsis' guitar riffs and solos are the highlight of the entire album, and for good reason. Each and every song is just loaded
with incredibly well crafted and technical riffs that will leave your neck sore from headbanging. There are plenty of key changes and time signature changes throughout that will please all of the fans of prog metal and technical death metal out there. There are also plenty of shred solos that will keep the old school metal and thrash fans happy. Basically, Malone's guitar parts are top notch.
The other half of Arsis is also quite formidable. Enter Michael van Dyne, the incredibly muscular man behind the drum set. Michael constantly pushes the band further and further with his complicated and very fast drum parts. There is hardly any time where he isn't abusing his double bass drums or laying down some incredibly swift blast beats. He's got an incredible sense of time and also has great chops. His drumming is great for the style of music he plays and certainly gives metal drummers the good word that they deserve. Percussionists out there could look to this album for some great drum work.
Highlights (in no order):
The Face of My Innocence
The Sadistic Motives Behind Bereavement Letters
-- Gives the listener a break from other American metal
-- The technicality of the album is very high
-- Amazing guitar riffs and solos
-- Superb drum parts
-- Great lyrics and vocals
-- Good production quality
-- Bass could have been brought out more
-- This album isn't very accessible
Final Rating: 5/5 - This album is an essential to anyone's metal collection and has given America a beacon of hope musically. You need this album if you don't already have it.