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All that is good in metal... - 96%

HeirToRuin, October 25th, 2004

Arsis debut album, A Celebration of Guilt, is a total onslaught of metal. There isn't the first lame riff on this album. There isn't the first sign of mediocrity. This album begins with a fury and finishes strong with no significant downtime in between. A combination of the best elements of melodic death, thrash, grind, and progressive metal, Arsis have really come out at a good time when the metal scene seems to be plagued by an ever-increasing number of metalcore bands showing their chops through half-time breakdowns. Arsis does none of that. The drumming by Michael VanDyne on this album is shockingly accurate. There are a few sound flaws in the drum mix. It's noticeable mainly during double bass solo segments. If triggers were used, this is likely the reason. However, this does not at all detract from the power of the music.

The guitars are refreshingly driving. The melodies don't wander too much. There aren't many moments of rest. The harmonies are well complimented. Although the technical ability here is high, there is little flashiness evident in the playing. Guitarist/Vocalist James Malone puts the song first and works within the framework of the band to create an atmosphere that grabs you by the throat and pulls you in. Malone's vocals are reminiscent of Jeff Walker (ex-Carcass) with some black metal influence.

This album is definitely a must if you like no-compromise balls to the wall metal. No filler here.

Best tracks - Maddening Disdain, Return, The Sadistic Motives Behind Bereavement Letters