Sound — 10
Sepultura is a unique band in that none of their albums sound alike. Their previous effort, Beneath the Remains, was an instant thrash classic. So you could expect some progression with Arise. And progress they did. Arise contains some of the most intense, heavy, and memorable thrash anthems ever recorded. On this release they really developed the songs more, sometimes breaking the speed riff assault for heavier, crushing, slower parts that really help the flow of the album. Also, they really achieved originality on this one, combining a brutal thrash/death sound with some groove elements that really made these songs stand out from the overcrowded thrash scene. The production and playing here are Sepultura's best. Andreas Kisser is the most underrated thrash guitarist ever; his lead work is both technically superb and original. Igor Cavalera's drumming is simply amazing yet never gets in the way of the songs.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on Arise are a huge improvement from past efforts. Andreas and singer/rhythm guitarist Max Cavalera write their most mature lyrics of their careers here. They focus mainly on politics and religion, and have a kind of apocalyptic feel to them. Max Cavalera's delivery is also great, one-dimensional perhaps, but he puts a lot of character into the vocals with his accent.
Overall Impression — 10
In my opinion, Arise is the pinnacle of thrash metal. Just enough experimentation to keep thing interesting between songs, yet at the same time not compromising at all to their sound. Blistering cuts like "Arise" and "Infected Voice" contrast with somewhat experimental numbers like "Under Siege" and the epic "Desperate Cry" to keep listeners compelled throughout. They maintain the intensity and sound through all 9 equally great tracks, but employ different approaches. This is thrash metal at its greatest.