Arsis
A Celebration of Guilt


4.5
superb

Review

by Mikesn EMERITUS
December 2nd, 2006 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


How often are you pleasantly surprised when you listen to music for the first time" Not very often if you're somebody like me. For the most part, it takes me a couple listens to get into the music I listen to. Only a select few albums have blown me away upon first listen. The albums found among this, for lack of better term, "elite group" include none other than Judas Priest's Painkiller, Gamma Ray's Land of the Free, Kiuas' The Spirit of Ukko, In Flames' The Jester Race, and of course, both of Arsis' full length releases, A Celebration of Guilt and United in Regret. A Celebration of Guilt, the band's first album, shocked the metal world, seemingly coming from nowhere. The 11 track effort has been met with praise, praise, and well, more praise. But does the melodic death metal band's debut effort deserve that many positive reviews and comments" Is A Celebration of Guilt that good" My dear readers, the only appropriate response would be "yes, and then some."

Arsis' can best be described using the term extreme metal. Though they are most definitely a melodic death metal band, there is a definite thrash and black metal influence found in their music. The violent nature of both genres (as well as in death metal, obviously) plays quite a prominent role in the foundation of the music on A Celebration of Guilt, yet never do these chaotic overtones feel excessive or unneeded. One can point to any track, whether it be the opener, Face of My Innocence, Return, or Looking for Nothing, and find the uncontested amounts of brutality that one would expect from in a death metal band. But we can't forget the melodic side of Arsis, for it too makes the listener quite aware. Considering the heaviness of the album, it's quite amazing how guitarist/vocalist/bassist James Malone manages to incorporate any melody into the music. Of Arsis' two full length albums, A Celebration of Guilt easily contains more melodic moments, and while it isn't quite as melodic as In Flames' The Jester Race, it still uses this musical aspect to its fullest extent. Songs such as Maddening Disdain and Seven Whispers Fell Silent both stress this element in their respective structures and both succeed in drawing listeners in through their shockingly infectious combination of aggression and melody. Arsis is quite the competent band, musically, and you'll likely have a difficult time finding someone who finds something to dislike about the musical qualities in the band's music.

Another aspect of the album I quite like is the production. While you would think that a record recorded by a two man band would have sound quality, Arsis would be an exception. Though it definitely doesn't have the same quality as a bigger band with more to spend, the production levels are still very appropriate for the band. Everything is quite well put together and easy to hear, whether it be the shrieks and growls of James Malone, the wailing harmonies, or the ferocious drumming of Mike van Dyne. Fans of this genre really couldn't ask for much more, especially considering the band's age, as it gets the job done quite efficiently. And finally, through the concise, dark tracks, it is also evident that the duo had put quite a bit of effort into the album. Even through repeated listening, none of the songs grow stale or tiring. Each of the LP's exquisite elements likely helped mould this outcome. Nearly every aspect, be it technical soloing, thunderous drumming, or the chaotic growling, is of equal importance, or so Arsis would have you believe. As one would listen to A Celebration of Guilt, it becomes quite obvious that everything from the guitar to even the lyrical content (probably the weakest link of the Arsis attack) is quite inspired and was heavily worked on. There are no real complaints in this area, as Arsis seems to have done its best to maintain the consistency in nearly every aspect throughout its debut album.

While many seem torn over Arsis' latest album, United in Regret, most seem to be able to agree that A Celebration of Guilt is one hell of an album. Chock-full of aggressive riffs and solos; melodic harmonies, interludes, and other musical passages which find themselves entwined within the band's tracks; harsh, guttural screaming; A Celebration of Guilt is quite a good album for both new and old fans of extreme metal. Both original and potent, the American melodic death metallers effectively bridge the gap between the likes of melo-death, death, thrash, and black metal to create a memorable album of which almost metal head could get into. If you're lucky enough to find this in your local record shop, do no hesitate to pick it up, as it is definitely a worthy investment.

Recommended Tracks:
Face of My Innocence
Return
Seven Whispers Fell Silent
Maddening Disdain



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user ratings (731)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Thor (5)
A Celebration of Guilt is the perfect combination of melody, technicality, catchiness and brutality....

Per Ardua Ad Astra (4)
...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Angmar
December 3rd 2006


2688 Comments


Very good review. My friends really into these guys and when he plays them i really like it. I need to steal them from him.

Apocalyptic Raids
December 3rd 2006


810 Comments


alright album, nothing special though.

JumpTheF**kUp
December 3rd 2006


2722 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, I've heard The Face Of My Innocence and it's pretty good.

Thor
December 3rd 2006


10268 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review as always. Buttt....



Why is "The Sadistic Motives..." and "Wholly Night" not in the highlights list?!

Intransit
December 3rd 2006


2797 Comments


good review, although I enjoyed United in Regret, I haven't picked up this yet. I'll certainly check it out soon.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2006


3106 Comments


I have this album, but I haven't listened to it yet because I haven't been in a melodeath mood for the past twenty years.
Fantabulous review, though, as usual. You should really throw a curveball one day and review a pop album, though, just for kicks.

Shattered_Future
December 3rd 2006


1560 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I still think this band gets too much respect. Sure, they do write some kickass melodeath, but it's nothing revolutionary...

Thor
December 3rd 2006


10268 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't think it's revolutionary either, but I do think it's a great reawakening for melodeath. Not to mention there isn't a bad song on this album.

Mikesn
Emeritus
December 3rd 2006


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Why is "The Sadistic Motives..." and "Wholly Night" not in the highlights list?!
I'm crazy like that.



Fantabulous review, though, as usual. You should really throw a curveball one day and review a pop album, though, just for kicks.
I should, someday.

Mikesn
Emeritus
December 3rd 2006


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I need to listen to those some more.
Seconded. :p

Shadows
Moderator
December 3rd 2006


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't think it's revolutionary either, but I do think it's a great reawakening for melodeath. Not to mention there isn't a bad song on this album.


Alas, they aren't even much of an awakening. There are plenty of amazing melodic death bands out there who have been around since long before Arsis, but Arsis just happened to be discovered and gain popularity before them.

Mikesn
Emeritus
December 3rd 2006


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What other bands would you recommend?

Shadows
Moderator
December 3rd 2006


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

For actual death metal with melody look to Autumn Leaves, Dismember, Deicide's latest album, and maybe some Inestine Baalism. For lighter melodic death along the Gothenburg lines look to In Flames, Arch Enemy, and Dark Tranquillity. But if you're looking for good Gothenburgish metal then get Insomnium and some early Fragments of Unbecoming.

Dethtrasher
December 7th 2006


2211 Comments


There is nothing in my home town that could be called as local music stores, the only ''heavy'' albums I have seen are some Iron Maiden records, one Hypocrisy record and lots of HammerFall albums.
Btw, congrats for breaking the hundred mark, join the club :D :thumb:

myhigherpie
November 25th 2008


3029 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is damn good...



melodic, brutal, technical, varied, and intelligently crafted.



too bad they suck now lol.

Athom
Emeritus
November 25th 2008


17240 Comments


nah, half of We Are The Nightmare was pretty great. esp Overthrown

rasputin
November 25th 2008


14968 Comments


This is their only album worth hearing, to be honest. Other than A Diamond for Disease.

myhigherpie
November 25th 2008


3029 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

We Are The Nightmare was kinda meh...



this blows it out of the water. They are on the right track though. Hopefully we may see a comeback soon though. They are too good to make garbage like United In Regret and they know it.



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