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Pop this CD into your player and the first thing you will hear is Mike Van Dyne cascading effortinglessly through a wave of drumming leading up to James Malone's virtuosic opening riff. Without giving you time to recover from this initial show of skill, mike dives furiously into blast beats while james continues his guitar and bass onslaught. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album. James also contributes the vocals which range from a mid DM growl an excellent black metal-like screech. The standout tracks are as follows: The opening track "The Face of my Innocence" has a great mix of stlyes, from driving double bass and blast beats to a great melodic solo and outro. The second track "Maddening Disdain" is a sololess and ferocious thrash/death fest with riffs that will leave you reeling. The fifth track, the catchiest in my opinion, opens with a great semi-melodic riff and ends with a blazing solo. The ninth starts off decently but has a completely ass kicking intulude about 1:20 in following by an insane solo. My only complaints are that some songs drag one too many repetitions out of the riffs, thought good as they may be. Also, at times mike can get to so crazy he will just fill his way though a riff. However these are the only complaints I could sqeeze out of this album, and I really had to give it a lot of listens before I could give my final judgement.
A band as good as Arsis does not come around very often, as you can see by the reviews that have been posted here and abroad. To think that all this material was recorded by only two individuals is even more mindboggling. James Malone, whom I must compare to Alexi from bodom because they are both among the elite few that can handle lead guitar and vocals at the same time, absolutly destroys on this album. The solos, riff writing, vocals, its all top notch and all accomplished by him. While I could not pick up any fancy work on the bass end, this was also done by James and to keep up with the guitar riffs must take some skill. Not forgetting mike, he rips on the drums throughout the entire album, with awesome blast beats and double bass and jaw dropping precision. Bottom line: buy A Celebration of Guilt, you wont be let down.