Sound — 9
When I first heard that Arsonists Get All The Girls had released a new CD, I was simultaneously excited and doubtful. I was very excited because this band has never failed to impress me before. It seems to be the trend for a new deathcore act to debut each week. Every one is said to be more "extreme" than the last, while they all sound similar and mediocre to this metalhead's ears. That is why Arsonists impressed me so thoroughly. Yes they are crushingly heavy, but they also manage to be innovative and progressive; not to mention experimental while still producing very well written songs. I will go more into style in the song by song section because it is just too diverse. Though they originally started as a joke (and as such seem not to take themselves all too seriously) their music is incredibly solid! However, I was doubtful about this new release because the band went through many line up changes since the last cd. The only remaining original members are Garin Rosen (drums) and Arthur Alvarez (guitar). I'm sorry if it seems like I'm rambling, but it needed to be said to set the stage for my reaction to it. This CD is amazing! The sound is very heavy, and at times very fast (recalling the older AGATG material). It is also laced with keyboards and little melodic flourishes that keep it from becoming too much of a grindfest. I know a 9 seems a bit high, but listen to the arrangements. The riffs, solos, breakdowns... etc. I can't justify giving it less. It never really gets boring... if anything a bit much intensity-wise at times, but thats it. Jason Baredoni (bass) dominates the low end, the drums are top notch, and the guitar playing of Alvarez and coguitarist Derek Yarra is phenomenal. And as I said before, the keys (Sean Richmond) are always a nice touch and used in several different ways.
Lyrics — 7
Before touching the lyrics, it would be a huge slight to the band not to mention their amazing new frontman, Jared Monette. This guy can do it all! What a heavy voice and presence on this disc. Also, a side note, I saw them live and he more than lived up to the studio recordings. To give you an idea of his diversity and range, the band used to have 2 singers, a high pitched "shrieker" and a lower "growler". He does both, along with a mid range voice of his own. Now for the lyrics, they are pretty solid and more intelligent than the average deathcore fare. Although many are somewhat nihilistic in nature, some deal with other topics (one song is a tribute to their late former bassist Patrick Mason). They work very well with the music and make you think. The only downside is, while they are decipherable, it would take a while to work out the meaning of all of them and several listens to get them down.
Overall Impression — 8
I reviewed this as objectively as I could, but I love this album. I was skeptical of the new line up at first, but this blew me away. I can't really say I hate anything about it. In comparison to their other albums, it is just as good or better than the Game of Life, and better than Hits from the Bow. It is quite a bit denser than their previous work, but not in a bad way. Here is a track by track review. 01. Interdimensionary: a strange melodic keyboard and computer noise intro...leads right into 02. The 42nd Ego: crushingly heavy, this ones a straightforward (for them) assualt. Great vox and lyrics. One of my favorites on the album. Much deeper and less spastic than most of the other songs (this album or otherwise.) 03. My Cup's Half Empty: another intense tune, with some super fast riffs and rhythms breaking into a menacingly heavy breakdown, then back to the fast riffs and sweeping. "DON'T LOOK DOWN!" 04. Skiff For The Suits: dissonant intro riffs remind me of The Chariot here (who AGATG opened for). The heavy breakdown here is very similar to the last song, though. A random electronic interlude before the very hardcore-esque sounding end. 05. In the Empyreans: this song was written by their former singer (Remy Rodburg, who makes a guest appearance on here) and Alvarez as a tribute to Patrick Mason. A more serious song. Very solid tune. Melodic guitar solos towards the end. 06. Saturnine: picks the pace back up after the (somewhat) slower and more somber previous track. Heavy as all hell and features some crazy shredding. 07. Violence In Fluid - Triceratops: super heavy with nice keys and MORE SHREDDING! Very melodic song! Melodic! In Deathcore! haha (Side note: I staged dived at the begininng of this when I saw them live :P off topic I know, so flame me) Also a nice chant part at the end. 08. Portals: just epic, over 7 minutes, a keyboard intro building up in classic AGATG style (a la Robando de los Muertos or City of Angels: Cakewalk) 09. I Lost My Loss Of Ruin: I thought this song was weird at first (odd chromatic intro riff, and shouted punkish at one point vocals.) But then it breaks into some creepy jazz (think #12 looks like you) and leads to a very pretty piano piece leading out the last minute in a half or so. Also some jazzy drumming. I am not kidding. This is on a deathcore album here :p 10. To Playact In Static: starts out typical of the CD (heavy) but I kid you not breaks into country/blues at the end, complete with some lead piano playing and bluesy guitar solos. wow... 11. Tea Time Tibbons: some weird jazz and other craziness. Very technical drumming... and some intense vocals (reminds me of Dillinger... in a good way!) And there is some random ass Tenacious D style nonsense of a hidden track...since its at the end it doesnt get it in the way...haha it makes me laugh though. So...If you like AGATG old material...GET THIS! If not, still check it out.