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Modern Death Metal That Actually Works - 85%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, September 26th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Saarni Records

In their fifteen year career, Re-Armed have released two records productions and many demos, and this September they have presented to us their latest full-length release, by the name of The Era of Precarity. This album truly is a precarious listen, full of blistering songs that are chock-full of melodies and rhythms that reflect the dystopian imagery and themes that the album represents. What Re-Armed are doing here is creating a more refreshing approach to the modern death metal sound. Yes, many of the stereotypes of such a style are here, i.e. the slick production, the (slightly) triggered drum patterns, and short guitar solos, but there is something that sets this album apart from that many that share its musical blood.

I jokingly refer to this album as the "Death Metal Phantom Antichrist," and those of you familiar with Kreator and that record will understand what I mean. The two both employ a straightforward songwriting style that yields songs that are neither too short or too lengthy, with obvious exceptions like "Three Headed Beast." They both share a very slick production job that has its pros and cons alike. I don't have too many complaints regarding The Era of Precarity, but I think the production is where the album tends to lack. I mean, the mix and balance is equalized well, but the tone of the drum kit is very typical of a recent metal release, and (of course) the bass guitar cannot be heard. The bass pedals have an all too familiar over-processed tone and the snare drum sound seems almost drum machine-like. On top of all that, the theme presented by the band as “a dystopian world that you would never want to live in.” This theme is very overused and I think that the concept should have matched the band’s sound in value.

This album is full of intriguing middle eastern melodies that are not always found on a modern death metal album. Songs like "Evolve Cycle" and "Years of Decay" take the mixture of entrancing major notes and mix them with sordid minor notes to create sinister riffs that evoke a sense of both wonder and fear. Melodies used by Fleshgod Apocalypse and even more recent Unleashed were put into the song here, and especially those Unleashed licks in "Through the Barricades." Hell, even Lamb of God could be heard all over "Evolve Cycle." Check it out below to see what I mean. Also put in the mix of melodies are the occasional acoustic passages such as in the middle of "Years of Decay" that seek to lure the listener in and then knock them off of their seat. Keyboards are used here to a reasonable extent so that they are neither over-used or too scarce. All of these elements blend together in a way that compliment each other, and sometimes the guitars do as well in a very literal fashion.

Above all, Re-Armed show metal groups of today that variation is the key to an album that someone will want to keep spinning or streaming over and over again. You can hear this variation on each track. One of The Era of Precarity's heaviest tracks,"Cursed Beyond Belief," truly bears resemblance to that phrase as no single riff seems to become overused. Each riff serves a purpose too. Some are extremely hard hitting but quite simple, but then there are some that are full of such complex harmonies like the chorus riff that it is a challenge to pick out a clear and concise melody line. I’m going to be straight-up. If your album has little to no variation in the playing styles, speeds, and note choice I will become bored with it real fast and I think that I speak for many others on this. The Era of Precarity doesn’t fall victim to this trap and will prove to you that Re-Armed is a band of wit and multiple skills.

It has taken re-Armed fifteen years to reach this milestone of an album and they should be proud of what they have displayed to me in this collection of prophetic tracks. The Era of Precarity is a journey into a realm of the evil of humanity and the music has the wicked nature to match. Whether it be the thumping bass, the unforgiving guitars, the fierce drum patterns or the powerful vocals, this record should be able to please death, black, and thrash metal fans alike. From breakneck blasts to tranquil clean interludes, Re-Armed will keep you hooked on their newest musical instalment, The Era of Precarity.