Arsis: Leper’s Caress

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Arsis: Leper’s Caress
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Arsis: Lepers Caress
Technical Melodic Death Metal
Scion A/V
December 4th, 2012
Release length: 19:11
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When it comes to free music, and the latest big names in the Metal scene, the car brand Scion has been getting things done in all the right ways. Between free showcases, promotion, music videos for some bands, and free downloads for others (and not just in the Metal world), it’s become a pleasure to hit up their site and check out what else they have in store for their customers, and those who don’t yet own this brand of vehicle. This time around, they tapped Technical Melodic Death Metal leaders Arsis to head into the studio and record a brand new six song free to download EP titled Leper’s Caress. This release follows their 2010 success, Starve for the Devil, and shines a long lost light on the band that devoted fans haven’t seen in new material for a while, returning to their darker side compared to today’s hook filled brutal assaults. But, even at the cost of nothing but the entry of your e-mail address and a few clicks of the mouse, is this EP really worth your time, or is it a lost cause?

First of all, Leper’s Caress does have some audio issues. While the instruments are all largely crisp, you can tell this was recorded with a smaller budget. Sadly, this causes the music to lose some bite, and just not hit the listener the same way. The deeper tone of the music works well to feed off the somewhat sterilized music at least, which adds to the darker tone most of these songs carry. The guitars have a decent distortion that is often cleaner, but also can carry a bit of static to give things a little more edge. The bass guitar adds to the deeper layer slightly thanks to a mid-level pitch. It isn’t bad, but it does end up drowned out more than you would hope. The drums are effective enough, finding the cymbals at a decent level with no wash out, some deep clicks on the bass kicks that really shine through in the mix, and the rest of the kit has a pretty tight tuning. The vocals are a little louder than some of the instruments, and there’s a little more range to them as well that suits the often grim atmospheres. But, other than that, this release really could just sound a lot better than it does, but thankfully doesn’t leave all six tracks dead on arrival.

The atmosphere presented is largely grim and melancholic, something fans of acts like Deceased will easily pick up on. “Haunted, Fragile and Frozen” kicks things off with a slow, creepy environment, later having a hopeless sound of metal clashing against metal as if a procession to your own demise before it bleeds right into “Six Coffins Wide.” This one is a little faster, as well as far more hostile. The technicality on display isn’t too over the top, though some spots can lose some of the negative sensations the release started with, such as during the chorus, picking up into a bit of an anthemic approach. “A Tearful Haunt, Condemned” is burdening and ominous, though the chorus is a bit lighter with subtle hooks to grab the listener that aren’t bad, but don’t really need to exist. They don’t do much harm, but they do present conflict with the overall crushing output of the performance. Finally you have “Denied,” which isn’t quite as dark as the rest, leaning more to the lighter passages found on “Veil of Mourning Black,” but this one gets it right. The speed is met with some catchy riffs that don’t forsake the technical element of the music, and even the guitar solo carries a forboding presence from start to finish, slowing the pace until that faster tempo kicks right back in to close out the song just as you would expect.

Admittedly, while Leper’s Caress is well worth picking up given the fact that it’s free, this is still far from one of the strongest Arsis releases due to various reasons such as posxsible budget limitations and lack of bite from the restrictive audio. Thankfully, this only really hinders the more melodic material, ane not the faster, more aggressive technical cuts. One spin with this EP and it’s clear these are some great songs that, if when played live, will more than likely destroy everyone in attendance, which is another reason to become familiar with these six songs. There’s no denying Arsis fans will come back to Leper’s Caress from time to time, but still opt to throw in A Celebration of Guilt, or even Starve for the Devil more.

01. Haunted, Fragile and Frozen – 1:53
02. Six Coffins Wide – 4:12
03. Veil of Mourning Black – 3:01
04. A Tearful Haunt, Condemned – 3:32
05. Carve My Cross – 4:06
06. Denied – 2:27
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Arsis (band)
Arsis

Digital review copy of this release provided by Scion A/V.