Released: 2005, Willowtip Records
Arsis made a lot of headway with their debut album, A CELEBRATION OF GUILT, on Willowtip last year. After that album was released anytime anyone brought up current melodic death metal bands, Arsis was pretty close to the top of the list. I, like the bonehead I can be, for the most part ignored the talk figuring Arsis probably didn’t cut the mustard. Though eventually late last year I did give in and listened to a few songs from the debut. In the end I was left feeling rather indifferent. Now, fast forward to late September of this year and I decided to give A CELEBRATION OF GUILT and you know what? It clicked. Why did it take a while to click? I’m not sure, maybe cause Arsis don’t rely on a lot of happy dual guitar melodies and don’t have the same melodic sense as most Gothenburg styled bands.
Arsis are James Malone on vocals/guitar/bass and Michael Van Dyne on drums. Now this duo is actually able to create a more unique sound in their field of melodic death metal. The music is far more busy, it doesn’t feel as dumbed down and a lot of the band’s melodic approach seems to be taken from a lot of the tech. death bands from the mid-90’s, though obviously pushed to the forefront. Arsis are able to seamlessly be a meld of some tech death and melo death.
A DIAMOND FOR DISEASE is a 20 minute EP that exists solely to showcase the albums title track. This becomes obvious when one looks at the track times and sees that “A Diamond for Disease” takes up over half of the playing time (nearly 13 minutes!). Considering this is an EP and the track time, I really wasn’t expecting much but I gave Arsis the benefit of the doubt. I mean, EPs are usually a waste of space and with a 13 minute song involved one might expect a jumbled mess of a song with quite a few useless mellow parts, extended intros and the like but that’s not what happens. Arsis crafted an exceptional song in “A Diamond for Disease”, it honestly doesn’t even feel like a 13 minute song and doesn’t become overly repetitive, nor does it see a bunch of needless changes that are there just to increase the length of the song. Is there much progression in this track from the debut? No, not especially but Arsis have crafted an amazing song and possibly the best song I’ve heard all year. The second track on the album, “Roses on White Lace”, is an interestingly heavy take on an Alice Cooper track. It’s actually the second cover I’ve heard of this song recently (Icarus Witch’s being the other) and probably the better of the two considering its stronger backbone and greater emphasis on lead work. The final song, “The Promise of Never”, is just plain kickass. Very short and pretty upbeat. It actually reminds me a lot of newer Dark Tranquillity, especially in the sections where it’s just guitar and vocals.
A DIAMOND FOR DISEASE may be short and it may be an EP but it’s damn good. Arsis hit another homerun and it’s been hard to pry this out of my CD player since I got it, too bad it isn’t a full-length release…