Review Summary: Dusty ride at the end of the world.
Arteries hail from Sydney, Australia. They provide a djenty approach to metalcore that both compares and contrasts to much of the heavy music scene in Australia (Thornhill, Alpha Wolf, Gloom in the Corner, Northlane, Thy Art is Murder in my own listening). Outdoor Claustrophobic (OC) is Arteries’ third release and second EP. Overall, OC is a fun listen, but does not show much progress in terms of the band moving away from their 2017 LP This WIll Destroy Us.
In terms of EP composition, the songs in sum hold a dense and desolate atmosphere. This is an element that Arteries continues to provide well. OC shows continuity and uniformity. Relatedly, without much surprise, some of the tracks get lost amongst one another (e.g. Body language and Rabbit Hole). The start of each song feels like a reset of OC’s motif, akin to a wasteland version Groundhog Day. In order for each song to affirm it is a part of OC, it must reiterate the formula and do something new, kind of like an algorithm (yes, bad metaphor).
The pace and length of each song is well suited to the EP’s format. However, song structure and the approach to each song is almost too uniform. Each song has utterly heavy moments, parts where the bass pops out, rests and pauses to dictatedly lurch the listener, drops and slides, quiet and creepy whispered bits, etc. This ultimately makes each song feel like it is a part of the same formula that is going to be capitalized upon until someone (the band or the listeners) gets tired of it. Listeners might be tired of it by now.
A critique for OC, and Arteries as a whole, is that releases can get bogged down by songs being overly similar and redundant. A smaller package of songs seems to barely mitigate this in OC, whereas This Will Destroy Us’ ten songs become more stale and monotonous with successive spins. Contrary, Arteries spend time in the dissonant while reaching into the melodic to provide a release, a sense of identity, to each song. That can be appreciated.
In sum, OC is a fun release that fits summer metalcore vibes. However, when looking at this release from a macro perspective, looking at all of Arteries releases, they could be doing better. Much can be forgiven in the form of an EP; here’s to hoping the next LP shows up outside the box.