Sound: Arsis can be summed up in one word: Arsis. That must be Latin for "awesome" or something, because that's exactly what these guys are. They flawlessly blend elements of death, melodic death, and technical death metal into what is now known as their signature sound.
On this record, only two members perform. But with two members this good, who needs anyone else? James Malone is a genius. If you're looking for a modern day guitar hero, look no further. Sure, his solos are amazing, but his riffing is also outstanding.
James does not slack at all anywhere on this EP. Or anywhere in the entire band's discography, for that matter. You really have to listen to their CDs a few times in order to absorb everything that's going on. You may be hearing a sweet solo, but rewind the track and check out what the rhythm is doing. Chances are, you'll be blown away a second time.
This EP is also entirely aggressive from start to finish. Even the Alice Cooper cover sounds completely menacing. The drums pummel your ears with the furious pounding of the double bass, and the guitar is relentless from stop to finish. But I can't really hear the bass on this EP.
The opening track is the nearly 13 minute epic which shares the title of the EP, A Diamond for Disease. This song is definitely a trip, and it just goes to show how no matter how much James can write, he will always be able to come up with something else to hold your attention. The second track is a cover of Alice Cooper's Roses on White Lace, which is a nice death metal-ization of a classic track. The third track is called The Promise of Never. While it isn't as amazing as A Diamond for Disease, it is definitely my favorite track of the EP. Short, sweet, and punishing. // 9
Lyrics: Judging by the lyrics, James seems to be pretty upset over something. Most likely relationship troubles. As sadistic and insensitive as this will sound; I think I'm Glad that he messed up somewhere. I think that a lot of the best music is written under the strain of extreme emotions, and this is no exception. The few that are present in this album are definitely anger, guilt, and regret. There are certain themes and motifs that keep repeating on the two original tracks of the EP. Some of them are borrowed from A Celebration of Guilt and others continue on into United in Regret. Everything kind of flows together like that.
I like to think that the lyrics are well written. They're not worded fancily and over dramatic like a lot of other bands are. They're just plain, simple, and convey the point really well in the darkest way possible without sounding silly. James has a pretty good voice as well. It grows on you pretty quickly. Even if it is monotonous and repetitive, it still sounds good. And the lyrics and vocals are furious, just like the music is. So it goes together pretty well. // 9
Overall Impression: Arsis = awesome. That's pretty much all you have to know. I first heard about them through UG on the Top Metal Albums of 2008 list (cheers, guys) and I've been hooked ever since.
I know that A Diamond for Disease is definitely the most impressive song on this EP, but I have to say The Promise of Never is my favorite since I'm not a big fan of songs that run over 7 or 8 minutes maximum. But it is definitely worth listening to whenever I get the opportunity.
I can't really find anything bad to say about this album other than that maybe the title track could have been split into several sections that function as individual songs. It would make listening easier and increase the track count from 3 to maybe 6 or 7. Other than that, this is a really solid album. Manic drumming, angry riffing, hectic solos, and spiteful lyrics. That's so Arsis. // 10