Arsis – United In Regret

No, I haven’t heard the previous to releases, so I’m not going to be whining about how it doesn’t live up to ‘A Celebration Of Guilt’ like so many people seem to be. Nor am I going to whimper about how Arsis’ logo isn’t on the cover (though I can’t understand why the fuck that would be an issue anyway). So, all that aside, we have ‘United In Regret’, the second LP from the trendiest band in technical death metal next to Spawn Of Possession, Arsis. Well known for their… well, I don’t really know, the words ‘technical’ and ‘progressive’ get thrown around a lot, so I guess those. Now, I can’t personally see why this is so widely revered to be an amazing band; however, I can see why people enjoy it, and why it’s a decent tech death album.

I don’t care what other people say they sound like, because what I hear is the half-retarded incestuous lovechild of Dark Tranquillity, Anata, and Necrophagist. ‘United In Regret’ has some of the melodies and the vocals of the former, the obsession with with alternately paced guitar lines of the middle, and the classically-infused leads of the latter. The music is a moderately technical, moderately melodic variety of death metal that, while refreshingly devoid of ‘sick breakdowns’, still doesn’t impress me as much as it seems to other people. Despite this, I’ll give it significant credit for being a hell of a lot more interesting than most of the bland, derivative technical death metal bands that are floating around these days. Amazing what, oh, I think they call it ‘songwriting’, can do for an album, isn’t it?

I’m not sure why, but the songs on here feel long as fuck for some reason, despite them all being just around three to five minutes long. Maybe it’s due to the volume of stuff going on at any given moment; every song must have five hundred fucking riffs each. Of course, it’s a crapshoot as to whether they’re actually good ones. While there are some badass things going on in here, they’re balanced out by portions that really seem to be here simply to give the songs more meat. There’s more music than ideas, but at least it’s not the insane case of a lot of bands these days: there’s probably around three minutes worth of interesting ideas for a four minute song on ‘United In Regret’. There also seems to be a pretty distinct dependence on technicality to carry the songs at times: I’d say that, really, the best parts of ‘United In Regret’ are when the band stops doing arpeggios and just allows themselves to make solid melodic death metal.

Apart from this, there’s not much to say about this LP. Certainly most metal fans will have no problem giving this a listen; however, I’m not going to claim that Arsis is as legendary as they are claimed by many. But when als is said in done, ‘United In Regret’ is a solid, fairly enjoyable bit of death metal. It’s just not incredible.

(Originally written for http://www.grindingtheapparatus.net)

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~ by noktorn on February 13, 2007.

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