Arsis – Starve for the Devil

File Under: Great Album, Terrible Cover Artwork!

By Jared Hynes

I’ll have to admit, I’m not a huge fan overly technical death metal but Arsis had a keen sense of melody and hooks that gave their music more feel and emotion, along with enough of a dirty production to give them an underground feel. When their previous album We are the Nightmare was released, they had me worried and a bit skeptical that they had lost me forever. Where did the hooks and grittiness go? Endless time changes and a pristine production, really went over my head and I hoped this wasn’t the new direction Arsis was headed.

On Starve for the Devil, Arsis has actually gone in the opposite direction as WAtN and wrote an extremely catchy tech/death metal record. The songs now consist of one or two main riffs that actually last longer than three seconds. A more traditional song structure and detail to the cohesiveness of the songwriting is implemented as well. I’ve read, and heard comparisons to Arch Enemy for Starve for the Devil, and I guess its a fair comparison when trying to describe what sub genre of metal they belong, but the riffs and songs are much more complicated, and less flowery than Arch Enemy. “Beyond Forlorn,” the first song served to the public however, could’ve sat comfortably on Arch Enemy’s last album, Rise of the Tyrant. If comparisons to others in the prog/tech/death genre need to be mentioned, I’d say Atheist (Piece of Time), Death (The Sound of Perseverance) and Carcass (Heartwork) would be more accurate.

I really love this album and would rank it up there with their debut, A Celebration of Guilt. There will be some complaints that Starve for the Devil utilizes a more traditional rock/metal songwriting style, however, the riffs are still challenging and hook laden, and because the time changes are more restrained than before, the songs have an openness that lets you get into the riff and commence air guitaring. Another compliment to Starve is the fact that the polish of the production and mix has been toned down quite a bit for a punchy, and gritty sound, with each instrument coming through loud and clear.

I believe fans will be torn with newest album, some will love it as a rocking death metal album that has the Arsis stamp all over it, others will be crying “sell out” due to the less complicated riff arrangements. Personally, I think this album is an incredible but I also think that about United in Regret, so what do I know.

(Nuclear Blast)

Rating: 8.5

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.