This is an EP that really deserves more attention. Why? Because sound completely different from everything else Arsis has released. The main reason why this is the only release that Arsis made that has this sound was because it was not well-perceived by the critics. Arsis was already getting a strong taste of success following the release of their debut, A Celebration of Guilt; so to further expand their sound; Arsis recorded a 3-song EP that was initially intended just for the ears of critics. But being the perfectionists that they are, after receiving less-than-perfect feedback from the critics on their “new” sound, the frustrated Virginians put the limited amount of copies up for grabs and were pressured by Willowtip Records to stick to their old sound. After releasing their mediocre sophomore release, Arsis left Willowtip to search for a record label known for the large amount of freedom that it gave its bands. For those of you that don’t really pay attention to the different record labels out there, Nuclear Blast is known for just telling their bands “Ok now go off and write the songs for your next album. Try to make it progressive and interesting and we will be expecting the finalized recordings in about two years.” Who wouldn’t want to be on a label like that??
But this EP was released years before they got signed on to Nuclear Blast. Because it was a quickly done release that wasn’t initially intended for the public, they didn’t put a lot of time into making the sound quality really good. So in other words, the guitar distortion and the sound quality of the instruments are considerably poorer than their other albums. Of course for those of you that are like me and can still enjoy the music no matter what the production quality is, you might have an easier time enjoying this record than others. When the EP was released to the public, those who adored A Celebration of Guilt were quick to get their hands on it; leaving the rest of us in the dirt.
The overall sound of the music isn’t nearly as fast and technical as their first album; which was probably what the change in sound was. The drumming was still extremely fast, but there was much less shredding by the guitarists and more chugging and soloing. Don’t be turned away from the first track due to its twelve-minute length because it’s actually the best song off the record. The song is filled with Augury-styled experimentation and mind-blowing creativity. There is a considerable amount of emotion contained in this record which I feel was another thing that Arsis felt that they needed more of. There aren’t really any downsides to this album, but the reason I didn’t give it an extremely high score is because even though the record is without faults, it still ceases to leave me speechless like other records have done. After the release of this EP, Arsis goes through a long, drawn out series of drama, line-up changes, and what’s commonly known as “writers’ block” which is when a songwriter just all of a sudden temporarily runs out of ideas. I would give this album 16/20.