Century Media Records
May 17th, 2011
Release length: 38:14
Despite the statements that put this group down, Arsonists Get All the Girls have always been a very heavy band that has a strong Death Metal intensity and brutality to their music on each release. Over the years, the group has become a much stronger force in the Deathcore world, getting their act together and maturing nicely into a stronger sound that doesn’t necessarily cater to the generic preconceptions of the style while sounding awkward in their attempt to be unique. This doesn’t mean the group’s staple foundations of technical Death Metal riffs performed with a heavy “-core” influence, as well as keyboard influences have been dropped, but rather have been refined and, for the most part, work for the group. “Rise to Fall” sets the foundation of the album nicely with intense Deathcore with technical guitar chords that really add to the overall intensity without going too over-the-top, though sometimes bridging to what sounds like Mathcore elements. There are additional keyboards to the mix, and honestly, the keyboards are not needed at all and feel heavily tacked on. The science fiction sounding keyboards really do nothing at all to enhance the sound, and most of the time come off more as an annoyance then anything else. “Gooseknuckle” manages to use them right at certain bridges, but outside of one or two of those, they seem to litter the song, and ultimately just don’t do anything but clutter the music.
However, though they are not necessary, they do manage to give the album a more chaotic vibe, which seems to be what Motherland is all about shortly after “Rise to Fall”, so far that it does aid the album, but really everyone else manages to give off that impression perfectly on their own without the tacked on keyboard elements. “It was a Memoir” incorporates some acoustic material for an introduction to the track “Dr. Teeth”, which is actually not that bad a song, and one of the very few that does manage to utilize the keyboards well, adding a hint of melody to the song without overusing it at times where it’s absolutely not necessary. This turns the track into one of the catchiest off the album, and a track that is guaranteed to have you banging your head along to it throughout. But, sadly, this is one of the very few that are actually catchy and headbang worthy. The rest are heavily intimidating and technical, and while they may not make banging your head mandatory, they will definitely have your blood pumping for most of the song. “Neck of the Contrast” and the oddly timed “Hemlock Like This” are perfect examples, and the latter has some minimal keyboards that most listeners can just look past, as they also offer little to the overall product. These tracks, however, have a more generic Deathcore vibe to them, but are at least executed well and still retain a strong impact through heavy, intense material with plenty of technical elements and changes to the music that ultimately show a more complex Jon for a Cowboy vein to the material. “Hemlock Like This” also utilizes a random Jazz break in the music that lasts a very short time. Like many of the keyboards, it’s not necessary, but rather just sounds interesting, though completely out of place. Of course, this isn’t the first time it happens. The breakdown at the end of the song is also one of the more unique ones available through the way everything is performed, and you can’t necessarily call it a lazy one, but it’s a very awkward attempt that oddly suits the overall chaotic sound of the album.
The only breakdown on here that really doesn’t work for the band is the closing one on “Woebegone”. While it is very heavy, the problem is that it just seems to drag on, and take the song down with it. Outside the brutal vibe of it, it goes at a slower pace and just doesn’t capture the intensity, or even the energy of the track at all except with the vocals. The album does manage to go out on a high note, embracing the catchier mentality that “Dr. Teeth” had given off, but still retaining a stronger technical approach that, at times, can go a little too far, but makes for an enjoyable and suitable closing with keyboards that are ultimately handled properly. Other then that, the rest of the material just feels strong, but could have been stronger without the needless keyboards tacked on. Even the brief introductory songs “It was a Memoir” and “Our Super Symmetry”, though the latter isn’t necessarily an instrumental like the first, sound good and find the keyboards left out, coming off more like a somewhat sane break to some solid material.
In the end, the chaotic sound that Arsonists Get All the Girls try to bring into this recording manages to stick throughout the album, and overall it does come off a little darker thanks to it. The songs vary from one another between some catchier melodic material, to some crushing and more intricate technical Death Metal influences. While the keyboards feel tacked on, sometimes they work and help the song, while other times they become more like random fly that buzzes by you that you just can’t seem to squash in terms of annoyance. The overall product of Motherland is far from bad, and is perhaps one of the strongest releases from the group. It features plenty of solid Deathcore songs that have varying inspirations outside the obvious of Job for a Cowboy and even some Whitechapel, but that chaotic element to the performance of the music does help to make the album it’s own unique entity and seem to only reference those bands as a guideline more then a foundation of each song like most bands in this field. With each album, the band seems to connect more with the ideas they have for their unique approach, and each album seems to get stronger and feel more matured, leaving Motherland to become one of the bands strongest efforts. Fans will be pleased, and even some who dismissed the band may very well be a little more engaged and enjoy some of the tracks that Arsonists Get All the Girls bring to the table here. No matter what your affiliation, whether you love or hate this band, it’s worth at least sampling, as there’s really something here for almost all walks of the Death Metal life to enjoy.
01. Rise to Fall – 3:34
02. Neck of the Contrast – 2:13
03. Gooseknuckle – 3:49
04. It was a Memoir – 1:34
05. Dr. Teeth – 4:03
06. Avdotya – 2:31
07. Waiting for the War to Die – 0:44
08. West Cliffs – 2:53
09. Hemlock Like This – 3:05
10. Woebegone – 3:23
11. Our Super Symmetry – 1:28
12. Will Someone Please Turn Down the Ocean? – 3:14
13. Tempest – 5:45
|Overall Score: 7/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.