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While it's not precisely a mystery to me why this guys are not as praised and well known as they deserve, it's still a pity that the lyrical content detract the overall experience of Arghoslent.
Arghoslent performs a unique brand of melodic death metal that has nothing on the swedish style most people knows. The songs are fast, relentless and quite upbeat; in fact they have a very military feeling that it's more encouraging than anything else, like war songs to prepare warriors for battle, a quite fitting feeling for the lyrics.
The most impressive feature of Arghoslent is the riffing. It's incredible how good, diverse and yet consistent is the songwriting and how crushing and memorable are each and every single riff on Incorrigible Bigotry. The riffs are not the typical brutal downtuned muted chugging, instead you can notice how they effectively blend heavy metal riffing in a death metal context. I also recognize some 'hellenic' black metal influence on their harmonic and some melodic approach (this gets more evident on their next effort Hornets of the Pogrom) and even the production values emphatize this heavy metal feeling more than an oppressive and 'brutal' wall of sound. For some, the album might feel too 'light' for being death metal but I think this is one of their greatest achievements and decisions: to make everything crystal clear to make shine even more the riffs.
Right off the bat, 'Flogging the Cargo' smashs your face with frantic riffing, ponderous drumming and hateful vocals, greatly performed. The lyrics are quite offensive, but the vocals are so well provided that you CAN'T avoid to sing along with them. I've never thought I would be growling loudly things like 'Exotic filthy mongrel dogs, Fettered to failure by a flawed genome', but I do. The Purging Fires of War features a more epic and majestic feeling with lyrics not so far from Bathory's Hammerheart, providing a good change of pace for what's about to come.
What about 'Quelling the Simian Surge'? sounds offensive, but the riffs and overall pace are so fucking awesome that even my black friends bang their heads against the wall with it. How can you stop yourself from screaming your lungs out with 'ON SWEATING BAAACKS OF NIGGER SLAAAVES!!' I can't. I do it every single time I put play to this song; hell, I've even made it just walking on the street! It's so catchy, so awesomely written that it forces you to growl it, no matter what, how or where you are. Also, this song features a slow interlude that could be easily heard on an early Varathron or Necromantia forgotten demo. Not just they have the catchiness and frantic feeling that compells you to destroy your neck banging your head, but also they manage to bring a strong sense of pride and epicness, everything flowing so naturally and coherently.
The rest of the album goes like that; riff upon riff you simply don't feel they would ever slow down at quality providing both a consistent feeling thru the album and unique and memorable moments in each track; they even have an 8 and half minute instrumental track that doesn't bores you at all. The last track called 'Hereditary Taint', features on their very first section one of the best riffs I've heard on my life. That section just before the vocals kicks in it's like a microcosmos of flawless riffage diversity. It's melodic, it's powerful, it feels like the perfect combination of NWOBHM, death and black metal. The drum beats also helps a lot to the engaging effect, flawlessly combining catchy double bass patterns with blasts, enhancing the aggressiveness of the song.
The only reason I think people might pass over this album is for the lyrical content. I have no problems with the lyrics and, while I don't share his fixation on looking down people for being slaves, I think they are the best 'racist' lyric writers from the metal scene. They mostly relate historical events that happen to feature slaves, and since they truly hate people submitted, they just trash them for their weakness. I'm aware that they hate gays, tramps and such, but I simply don't care cause they write incredible musical pieces.
If you don't feel personally offended by their lyrics (in a way that distract you from the enjoyment of the music), you must have this album.
I really, really hate the fact that I love this album. I feel like a shitty person every time I headbang or air guitar, especially when I sing along. For those who couldn't take a hint from a title as in-your-face as Incorrigible Bigotry or song titles like "Flogging the Cargo" or "Quelling the Simian Urge", Arghoslent is a very racially charged band. They identify as racialist, which is different to plain ol' racism in the same way that fucking your half sister is different to incest. You see, these poor misunderstood souls don't hate black people, they just believe that they're genetically inferior ape-men who should be seen as subhuman. See? That's so not the same thing, LEAVE POGROM A-LOW-HOOONE. And yes, I'm well aware of the hypocrisy involved here because I always preach that the lyrics/message of the music shouldn't be a huge deciding factor of your enjoyment. I see this all the time with religious/anti-religious themes. There are people who won't touch anything with a Christian bent, which means they'll miss out on some awesome stuff like Woe of Tyrants, Trouble, and Tortured Conscience. And then there are the Christians who won't get near anything satanic or just anti-theistic in general, which means they miss out of 70% of heavy metal. My view is that it shouldn't really matter, because music is music and if you can make a connection to it, then it only enhances what you would normally like anyway, and if you disagree with it then oh well, your choice but you could be missing out on something great.
But Arghoslent? Man this is a test of my resolve. Social issues always light a fire in my belly, and here we have a band that I think are legitimately very good that stands for everything I don't. Here I am supporting a band who not only writes songs like "Manacled Freightage" (not on this album, that one can be found on Hornets of the Pogrom), but also contributed to a compilation titled Smashing Rainbows, obviously supporting homophobia. How can I consider myself a fan of a band who, regardless of whether for their genuine beliefs or just because they like to stir up shit, holds views so extraordinarily extreme and opposite to my own? The frank answer is this; they are one of the only bands in this day and age to write riffs on par with Mercyful Fate in their heyday.
I know, that's a ludicrous claim to make. Nobody can write riffs like Sherman and Denner. Nuns Have No Fun, Melissa, and Don't Break the Oath are some of the greatest metal albums in all of history, and one of the reasons for the timelessness of those early '80s masterpieces is because the riff writing was and to this day still is unparalleled. That main riff to "The Oath" is in my top two greatest riffs ever written. Now currently there seems to be a small resurgence of Fate's sound seemingly centered around Sweden, with bands like In Solitude, Portrait, and (to a lesser extent) RAM. Even with all of these bands attempting to recapture the magic of one of the greatest bands in the history of heavy metal, I still maintain that the band that comes the closest to reimagining those gorgeous riffs are a melodic death metal band from Virginia.
And right off the bat I make another confusing statement. Yes, in the most literal sense, Arghoslent play melodic death metal. There is a difference between melodeath (which is essentially crunchy Iron Maiden songs with growls on top (see: In Flames, At the Gates)) and death metal that is melodic (which is what it sounds like, death metal with melodious riffing (see: Vehemence)), and Arghoslent fall into the latter category. Incorrigible Bigotry consists almost entirely of classic metal riffs put in the context of a death metal song. For a good example, take a look at the opener, "Flogging the Cargo". That verse riff couldn't be less death metal if it was played by Rainbow Bright and the Sugargina Brigade, but it's backed by a frantic blastbeat and layered underneath the hellish roar of the vocalist. Essentially each and every note the guitars rip forth hearkens back to the mindset of bands raised on Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate, and it really helps set the band apart (in addition to the obvious reasons). Honestly, I find it hard to deny the quality of the riff writing within the album. Originally I was just going to list a few examples, but I'm really struggling to do so. Literally every song barring maybe "Heirs to Perdition" is filled to the brim with top notch heavy metal riffs. My personal favorites are probably the outro to "Quelling the Simian Urge" and the bridges to "Archaic Invincibility" and "The Purging Fires of War", with the lattermost song probably being the best on display. The overall performance across the board comes off as rather sloppy at times as well, but it never works to the band's detriment for the same reason The Lord Weird Slough Feg's Twilight of the Idols is so enjoyable. In fact Slough Feg is another good point of comparison for the composition as a whole. Chaotic solos aside, the more midpaced sections (particularly "Archaic Invincibility") really bring to mind bands like Slough Feg and Brocas Helm.
The classic metal bent also gives the album an air of levity. Despite the waves of vitriolic bile that the band belches forth with the lyrics, I can't help but find them to be rather sing-songy. I know I've been quoting sections of lyrics an awful lot in my reviews lately, but again I just have to illustrate what makes this album so conflicting to me. I'm going to assume (hope) you aren't a bigoted dipshit, so try to imagine this stanza:
Burying swords into emaciated ribs
Tired naked souls could no longer walk
Exotic filthy mongrel dogs
Fettered to failure by a flawed genome
Imagine that presented in a way that was simply irresistible to growl along with. That morally confuses me as an obnoxious punkass who can't help but sing along and mimic instruments whenever listening to something vaguely resembling music. Arghoslent is just damn good at making their music catchy, and I almost hate them for that.
That said, I'm not in love with everything about this album, it does indeed carry a few noticeable flaws. The most obvious problem is presented precisely three seconds into the first song, and that is that the lead tone is obnoxiously bad. It carries an almost visible buzz that ends up being very distracting whenever a lead line is playing, it's like dropping a beehive on a synthesizer. The saddest part is that it isn't even all that different from the rest of the album. Considering 90% of these riffs were more inspired by Hank Sherman than Bob Rusay, the band doesn't really aim for crunch. Again, this makes the album's overall feel and sound quite distinguishable from most bands of their ilk. Instead of a thick, crunchy, and beefy assault, the guitars are instead a very heavy kind of fuzz. I'd call it "steel wool" if it wasn't so soft. Yeah, the tone is about as sharp and heavy as a beach ball, and it does take away from what the band was trying to do. The percussion also leaves a bit to be desired as well, as apart from maybe two filling segments in "Quelling the Simian Urge" and "Heirs to Perdition", he tends to alternate between three different beats and rarely changes it up. Usually this wouldn't bother me too much, but when the guitars are so creative, I'd like to see the rest of the band step it up as well. And if I'm being extra nitpicky, the tracklist could be tweaked a bit as well. The first three songs are instantly recognizable with tons of standout parts between them, and the following four, while all very good, tend to blur into one bigger whole. They all contain excellent parts that I'll hum and air guitar when I think nobody is looking, but I sometimes have trouble remembering precisely which song they came from. Plus the album really could have benefit from ending on "The Purging Fires of War". That song is just so damn huge and imposing, with that long bridge and monstrous buildup, if it were followed by any track other than "Quelling the Simian Urge", I'd probably quickly lose interest and go listen to the previous song again. It's a great closer and I wish the band would have realized that as well.
All told, it's hard to describe at length what to expect with Incorrigible Bigotry because "classic metal riffs in a death metal context" pretty much sums up the whole experience. I think it's incredibly well done and well paced and on the whole it's a very fun experience, despite the subject matter. I don't want to play the "Open Minded" card to justify why I like this album so much, but the beliefs are a huge part of what makes this band, so it can definitely be hard to get past. If you can though, it's chock full of excellent Mercyful Fate styled riffs and unstoppably catchy songs.
Originally written for http://lairofthebastard.blogspot.com/
Every once in a while, you come across one of those albums. Something so killer, so memorable, so incredibly well done that you know you will be listening to it for as long as you're physically capable of hearing things. For me, Incorrigible Bigotry, the second album by Arghoslent, is one of those albums. They set the bar high with Galloping Though The Battle Ruins and yet they easily toppled it with this release. The same line-up appears here, with all their splendor and talent for writing great, memorable death metal.
The first thing you'll notice when you listen to IB is the beefed up production values. The guitars, the bass, the vocals, and the drums all sound much fuller and aggressive than on the previous album. The reigning kings of death metal riff writing Pogrom and Holocausto continually destroy the listener with their disease, their "infection of riffs" as they call it. Von Demonicus vocals slice right through the mix with hatred and venom that deliver a sonic kick to the crotch to the listener. Kommando's bass fills out the rest of the sound with his chugging rhythms. And not to be forgotten, Alienchrist pummels his drum set into dust on this record.
Right at the start, "Flogging The Cargo" annihilates you with a a blistering solo and riff combination, with AC's dominating drumming knocking you senseless. VD comes in with the vocals and you know you are in for a round of unimaginably killer death metal. The carnage continues through "Flogging..." and the power is ramped up on "The Purging Fires Of War". This is one of the more dynamic tracks on the album, ranging from the galloping opening rhythms to the chugging middle section concluding in the demonic ending. With the riff work like this, who needs other death metal bands?
"Quelling The Simian Surge" has some of the more incendiary lyrics on the album. But then those riffs kick in and all you can concentrate on is how hard this song rules. There's a sense of emotion and glorious melancholy over the chorus and that makes this one of my favorite Arghoslent songs ever. Not to be outdone, "Heirs To Perdition" reigns darkness over all. And "Archaic Invincibility" throttles its listener by switching between swift, escalating riffing and a slower, much more thundering sound. Of course, all throughout these tunes Pogrom and Holocaust sprinkle their brilliant leads to captivate and enthrall all who dare listen to their music.
The 8-minute instrumental title track is again, a flawless exercise in death metal. Anyone who wants a crash course in Arghoslent should just listen to this. They beat you over the head with riffs and solos in this song. "Hereditary Taint" is the final song on the album. Without mercy, Arghoslent terminate your existence in a flurry of illegally evil riffing.
Incorrigible Bigotry is one of my favorite death metal albums of all time. This easily stands amongst all of the other classics of the genre. Compare your favorite death metal album to this and then kill yourself.
I didn't want to review this again. I just wanted to lock it away forever in the vaults of time as a Mistake on my part, a tragically misguided opinion that I later found to be wrong. But so many people insisted that I go back and change my old review, which I left up merely to show what happens when one prematurely reviews an album, that I just had to give in. So many people were apparently so confused at the discrepancy between my ratings for this album and for Arghoslent's next pile of dog droppings, Hornets of the Pogrom, that I am forced to pander to the masses and, well, review Incorrigible Bigotry again. And yup, it's just as boring as I thought it was the last time I heard it! Excited? I bet you are.
Arghoslent is basically a really boring band at heart. Their music has no imagination, is short enough to be quickly forgotten and the only thing it really has going for it, is the riffs. Just riffs. Distilled of any songwriting power, any kind of emotional appeal, anything that separates us from machines making music...just riffs. That might sound good at first...wait, no it doesn't, are you fucking kidding me? I have never been quite this apathetic about music. It is technically all there, but where's the engaging factor that's supposed to draw me in? This music has no fire to it. It is a huge cobble of clickety-click riffing and dry melodies that sound as if they were produced by a machine. It is literally the best possible way I can think of to describe to someone the difference between inspired music and music that was so obviously just made to get a quick album out of the way so the band could go back to polishing their Klan hoods, or maybe throwing darts at pictures of Morgan Freeman and Malcolm X, or whatever it is this supposedly 'racist' band does in their free time.
Yeah, that racism thing is really something, isn't it? For a band that got so much infamy for writing such supposedly racist lyrics...these lyrics really aren't that bad. Yes, they often show a slight slant towards less-than-pure intentions aimed at black people, but really? Is this really all you have? I guess this is supposed to be 'intelligent' or something, but really it's just boring. They recite a bunch of historical anecdotes, throwing in some lines here and there about how black people are mongrels, or something, and overall it's just so goddamned bland. How can you even do that? How can you make racism sound bland? Well, they did - certainly some of the more pedestrian, tame lyrics I've read that concern the condemnation of another race of people based on a factor which they cannot actually control. What a load of suck. I've had more contempt for high school teachers.
The music is just as inconceivably bland. Picture The Chasm or Manilla Road except with everything mysterious, atmospheric and interesting removed. The riffs chug and gallop away without kicking up even one needle of a pulse. The rhythms are goofy and groovy and really not threatening at all. The intention here was probably to sound like classic heavy metal, and if so, they botched it up, because it just lacks any kind of punch. The vocals are growly without any distinction to them - not bad, not great, just kind of there. The melodies are classic-metal influenced, but that isn't enough; it's like saying that just because Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had Harrison Ford in the jungle with European bad guys that it was still a good movie. Which isn't true! The band just kind of throws these midget-sized melodies in the middle of the riffs to...make sure their music doesn't get monotonous? But it is, so the effect is nil. You need to emphasize things, you need to have some direction to your music, you need to use subtlety and atmosphere to enhance the music. Arghoslent does none of these things; their music is as insignificant and transparent as a family of ghosts living in a glass house. Everything is so small. Nothing leaps out at me, nothing demands my attention.
Incorrigible Bigotry...for an album called that, this is a really, well, corrigible album. It isn't that bigoted, it isn't exciting and it certainly isn't anything resembling good music. Some of the riffs would be good if the songwriting wasn't such a godforsaken mess of banality, and the melodies might be good if the band actually used them for something other than bridges between the clicky riffing, but it never is. Who actually considers this entertainment? People who don't even know what death metal is? Whatever. This is a load of starch-white vanilla nothing that I am glad to say I have grown out of. Case in point, readers: Just because a band has riffs and is metal doesn't make it good. This is a sack of shit, and I am done now. Over and out.
Arghoslent isn't the first metal band to choose to promote, or ostensibly embody, deplorable principles as part of their image; but they do seem to relish the consequential infamy to an unusual degree. In the case of "Incorrigible Bigotry", buried beneath the controversial subject matter, the music is quite entertaining.
The rhythm guitar is played with a very distinctive style. There's very little use of palm muted single note lines; instead, the rhythm melodies are comprised of rapidly moving chords slurred together. (Here I use the term "slur" in the musical sense, though the band certainly use plenty of the racial variety as well.) The riffs crafted in this manner are an absolute delight -- melodic and complex with a relentless continuity, rather than the more typical staccato chugging utilized in the genre.
The drumming and lead guitar are capably performed, and the vocals are well executed with a crisp sense of timing and an aggressive low growl that suits the music very well. But it's the riffing that sets Arghoslent apart from their peers; every song features several stirring, memorable riffs.
"Incorrigible Bigotry" is aptly titled, but thankfully sonic bliss envelops the ideological ignorance.
...You would have this album.
Arghoslent play melodic-deathmetal in a way no one (to my knowledge) has done before. Their take on the genre calls for melodic riffing, as oppose to the gothenburgish melodic lead guitar of bands like Soilwork and In Flames. What this adds up to a much a fuller and mature death metal sound, while maintaining a strong sense of melody
The album kicks off the most amazing start with "Flogging The Cargo". The rifftage here slaughters that of 99.9% of metal. The composition is controlled, and the song writing quality, really giving you the feeling the band know what they're doing.This skillful level of composition also lends itself to the vocals, giving them almost a cocky feeling, which combined with the topical racism focused on early western imperialism, really adds to the atmosphere.
The next song is undoubtedly the best on the album. In this track Arghoslent put their riffcrafting skills toward creating a Bathory like epic, which kicks in perfectly with screams of "The fires burn" and "Carry my son this vision". Typical NS fair at first glance, but executed with class. What really ceases to amaze is the bands ability to never run out of decent riffs, their seems to be a total lack of filler here.
The production is a nice mix of clarity with a bit of dirt to my ears. The drums are compressed but still sound organic. The guitars are crunchy, with a rather overall low EQ, which functions well. Making sure that the line between the rhythm guitar and lead guitars often intentionally blur, making the songs feel less fragmented.
The rest of the album follows on nicely from the first two tracks, which are definitely the strongest.However, the quality with this album doesn't seem to let up, and you can hear it on songs like Quelling The Simian Urge. The best way to describe the atmoshpere on this album is that of a racist pirates of the Caribbean. Where Johnny Depp is some kind of Skinhead with a guitar. The riffs really do perfectly sum up the tropical atmosphere.
Ultimately an awesome album, definitely worth a purchase from both black-metal and death-metal fans.
Here's the point breakdown.
90 points for bringing some of the greatest riffs I have ever heard in metal to the table. This album is seriously SERIOUSLY rawkin' in the guitar department.
5 points extra for extremely well written lyrics. Though openly racist, this Virginia quintet mask it extremely well, especially in certain songs (namely The Purging Fires Of War, which at first glance sounds sort of power metal, lyricwise).
OK, let's go song by song, since there are only a few.
Flogging The fucking Cargo. If the album could have a cooler opening riff (which is promptly interrupted by random wankery), shoot me, and shoot me now. Followed by some kickass harmonies, and pulling off some nice growls, leading into blasts abound and other such drums, this is an awesome opener.
The Purging Fires of War. Holy shit, what a riff. I know, I'm going to say riff so much in this review, but god damn, this is some crazy shit. It's not even incredibly complicated, save a lot of the solos, but damn, it's just amazingly catchy and happy. With lyrics like "Carry my son this vision, take the sword and keep the faith, till the truth of our lives alight" makes me think it's just a sort of Tolkien themed song, sort of an inspiring warcry. Far from it. This song defines "masking your true motives."
Quelling The Simian Surge. Is there anything more offensive than that? Flogging The Cargo just sounds evil, too. But, it's true. It all used to happen. I suppose the band could be seen as "recreating history", but not really in a totally cool-with-everyone way...Anyways...This is a great riff, too. It's sort of overused in this song, but it's awesome anyways. The drumming sort of sounds like galloping, which adds to the feel of the album.
Heirs To Perdition. I dislike this riff. It's not as happy as the rest. Still, the song retains its goodness throughout, though it isn't one of the most solid songs. Points for good blasts here.
Archaic Invincibility. It took me a while to get used to this intro, because it's a bit different than the others, but now I love the fuck out of it. Some nice slow bits here and there, and sweet growls. This guy's awesome at them, trust me. Awesome solo-ish stuff while singer is growling, too. The guitars sort of have a mind of their own.
Incorrigible Bigotry. The title track is an 8 and a half minute INSTRUMENTAL. The amount of sheer riffage here is like explosive and cannot be contained. The sound can be accurately described as a 40-ton block of pure guitar riffs falling on your head and making a really great sound. Music to my fucking ears, this is.
Hereditary Taint. Jesus Christ. This intro is fucking nuts. Someone must make these guys give guitar lessons, really. There's nothing that can stop this band...really.
They're on the path to fvcking destrvction, and nothing can stop Arghoslent.
The album starts off very strikingly with a fast riff and as soon as the riff is played through the first time, the lead guitar kicks in with a melodic yet fast solo. That "striking riffs and great, melodic solos" fits the album well, but doesn't give a reader a proper picture about the album. So, the riffs are striking, but in what way? In many ways actually, for example the riff that starts off the record smacks the listener fully to the ground with sheer brute force, but the riff in 2:43 on The Purging Fires of War is just so magnificent in it's epicness that even Quorthon of Bathory fame would be jealous of it. Most of Arghoslent's riffs are so melodic that one could talk about actual melodic death metal and by that I don't mean Gothenburg-styled wannabe death metal but actual melodic death metal. The solos are mostly very NWOBHMish in their style although death metallic parts can be found too.
One of the most notable aspects in Arghoslent's music is their lyrics. They describe events of history but Incorrigible Bigotry's lyrics focus on, as one may or may not decipher from the album title, the colonial times when white europeans used to enslave black africans. The lyrics aren't in any way politically correct. The word nigger gets thrown around without shame and the description "exotic filthy mongrel dogs" doesn't sound very flattering. Zach belches out the lyrics convincingly, although not in a very unique way. The vocals do fit the music very well, so there isn't anything wrong in this department. The lyrics are written in quite a cumbersome form but the band has somehow managed to arrange the lyrics into the music though at times the strange vocal lines do annoy you if you listen carefully.
All the songs are efficient pieces of art though some of them stick to your head better than the others. Especially The Purging Fires of War, for that epic riff mentioned in the first paragraph, Flogging The Cargo with its flashiness and striking capability and the album's title track which is an eight minute-long instrumental. The song is filled with clever riffs and the solos in the end are probably the best on the whole album and make an excellent listen. All in all, I'd recommend this to all fans of metal since this album has many various and quite different things going for it.