The American technical death masters known as Arsis return with a six-track EP through Scion A/V. Scion A/V has been releasing some pretty badass EPs for the past couple of years from bands such as Revocation, Immolation, Meshuggah, and Wormrot. Having gone through a lineup change, some people were a bit skeptical about the sound of future Arsis releases considering the extreme success We are the Nightmare had. At first, I thought that Starve for the Devil was an extreme success, especially among conservative listeners. It looks like I was wrong, apparently, the rock n’ roll vibe that Starve for the Devil contained upset a lot of fans. It’s understandable how some people can find it unattractive when a really heavy band makes and album that’s not as heavy as their older stuff.
Regardless of whether or not Starve for the Devil was good (I liked it), it’s undeniable that Arsis’ sound took a drastic shift in direction. With the extremely and well…unusual sound of their 2010 full-length, a lot of people have the same question: what will Arsis do next? Well, Arsis has given us a free taste of new material on the Lepers Caress EP. Some bands like to treat EPs like full-lengths and make it as a whole rather than a collection of songs. Arsis made the Lepers Caress EP more as separate songs rather than have them all stand together as a whole. Starve for the Devil pretty much split Arsis fans in half. There are the people who absolutely fucking despise the new Arsis sound, and those that feel that Arsis still has yet to put out a bad record (which is the side I’m on). The Lepers Caress EP ensures satisfaction for all Arsis fans.
That is motherfucking correct, Arsis has gone to a sound that is extremely similar to that of We are the Nightmare! It doesn’t sound like B-sides from the record, but it does share a lot of similarities with it, especially in the guitar harmonizations. There are, though, some traits that originated from Starve with the Devil that have carried over to this one, and that is the melodic element. Without losing any of their extreme amount of technicality, Arsis’s music has gotten more melodic and complex with each release. As well as all that, Lepers Caress brings in some new shit as well.
The majority of the music isn’t quite as fast and chaotic as before. I’m not saying that the new full-length is going to be like this, but the majority of the material on this EP is much, much slower than what I’m used to hearing from these guys. But that’s not to say the complexity and technicality has gone down. Although there are fewer blast beats, the drums still attack with awesome intensity. I’ve never really had a problem with the drummer aside from the less-than-satisfactory playing style on the A Diamond for Disease EP from 2005. So pretty much, the drums are nothing short of flawless. Because the overall tempo of the music has gone down, the guitar solos are less crazy and fewer in number. Instead, blasting drum fills have been replacing the majority of the guitar solos. The vocals are extremely unique as always. They even sound a little deeper than before, often times being layered on top of growls (I don’t think that’s been done since their first album).
Fans of technical death will LOVE this record. It’s fantastic. Although it’s not something that I would go back and listen to nonstop, there isn’t really anything that I can think of to complain about. Since it’s free (thanks to Scion A/V), I would go and download it from them and listen to it, it’ll be worth it. I would give Lepers Caress EP a good score of 16/20.