Review Summary: incorrigible riffs
Atrocity apologists Arghoslent’s brand of hateful death-thrash has always had its riff compositions rooted significantly in traditional metal, with an inclination towards melody and a utilisation of that distinctive “galloping” style closely associated with the old school heavy metal sound. This feature of their song-writing also accentuates the sincere enthusiasm for war, conquest, and all the associated imagined glory that only people with lives totally unaffected by warfare could have. Prior to the their first full length campaign Galloping Through the Battle Ruins
, Arghoslent executed a pre-emptive strike with the release of Arsenal of Glory
, where they nurtured the distinct riff worshipping brand of song-writing that they are known for.
Though Arghoslent often favour obscuring their intolerant views with the obfuscating bloat of historical revisionism and religious rhetoric, opener “Rape of a Slave” leaves little ambiguity with the first line “come forth you shameless dark cu
nt”. The band covetously undress a tale of raw barbarity from the convenient point of view of a bigoted avatar of ruthless white colonial domination, demonstrating a masterful array of exhilarating, triumphant riffs juxtaposed by the crude thudding drums and coarse baying vocals. The dominating assault comes to a vile climax with a penetrating guitar lead and the sadistic, hysterical repetition of the title of the song. The brutality continues with “Branding the Peon”, which remains one of Arghoslent’s best pieces of work. An excursion of riffs tell a tale of persecution and the spoils of conquest, here guitarists Holocausto and Pogrom are able to really flaunt their capabilities, notably at around three quarters of the way through the song during a prolonged instrumental bridge featuring flourishing, engaging guitar leads that culminate into a euphoric surge of incessant, roiling drumming and animalistic howls over wistful traditional riffery.
Speaking of tradition, Arghoslent’s affection for instrumental title tracks started with Arsenal of Glory
and nowhere is the legitimate power of their riffs more apparent. Beginning with a determined, marching detachment of riffs the song builds into a tremolo-picked frenzy before decelerating into a solemn swansong of sumptuous sentimental leads. Though vocalist Von Demonicus never really contributes any melodies of his own and largely just follows the riffs, the catchy appeal of moments like the groove in the chorus in “The Negress”, or the roars that agitate the euphoric tremolo riffs when “Branding the Peon” comes to its epic, searing close are hard to deny. The rhythm, particularly the drumming, is often no more than a means to an end but adds an important blunt contrast to the indulgent and vibrant guitar playing. The duality of Arghoslent’s sound mirrors their bizarre ideologies, the gorgeous riffs are a symbol of Arghoslent’s romanticised visions of the grandeur of war, while the grounding primitive presence of the vocals and drums exemplify the ugly reality.
For a band so infatuated with the ideas of war, battle, and glory, there is an amusing degree of cowardice with which Arghoslent present their views. Hollow intellectual posturing and superfluous references mask their dark, eugenically charged ideologies. The misguided misanthropy found in their works paints them at best as extremely delusional and at worst as incredibly bigoted. Despite this, much of the nefarious lore of Arghoslent is steeped in truth: a period of history where crimes against mankind were innumerable, one that most in the West would sooner forget, and therefore holds a significant and unique value by in some way adequately representing a memorandum of the atrocities committed by Western powers particularly in Africa during the centuries of colonial land grab and displacement of peoples. Ultimately the controversy around Arghoslent’s ludicrous opinions of the world is unfortunate mostly because it will always overshadow their most interesting aspect of their band: a veritable arsenal of glorious riffs.