Arsis We Are the Nightmare

Arsis We Are the Nightmare
For those wondering where technical and melodic death metal could progress to after Death’s mighty swansong, The Sound of Perseverance, look no further than We are the Nightmare. Virginia’s Arsis — anchored by guitarist/vocalist James Malone, with a steadily revolving back-up cast, which seems to have now steadied itself out — have created a blasterpiece of a Nuclear Blast debut (following two full-lengths and an EP on respected indie Willowtip), and no doubt the buzz the band have found building around them is going to reach new heights. Tracks like "Sightless Wisdom” show that these guys can flip from blast beat-driven death metal to technical thrash to a melodic Swedish sound all with incredible ease, never sounding forced. "A Feast for the Liars Tongue” finds the band handling more subdued parts — a mixture of Dream Theatre and Atheist (any time technical death metal drummers close the hi-hat for some fun it’s worth checking out). The only thing that sounds bad is the typically goofy Zeuss production sound (why does this guy think bass drums sound like this?), but that can be overlooked in the face of such a strong album. With a bigger label now backing them, Arsis are set to storm the death metal world.

We Are the Nightmare feels more accomplished than your past releases, which is no small feat. Did you put more time into these songs?
Malone: We actually only had about four months split up between tours to write the album and prepare for the studio. Given our time constraints I think it came out amazing. I really feel like we took the time to make sure we created the album that we all envisioned.

You write very technical songs but manage to keep them listenable. Are you careful not to go overboard with the technicality?
I think the key is making sure that all the technical aspects of the songs belong where they are placed. I feel everything I write serves a purpose within the song and I am willing to justify this to anyone, both from the performance and theoretical standpoints. I don’t noodle — everything I play needs to be there.

To me, We Are the Nightmare sounds like the kind of thing Death might have put out if they were still around. Do you agree?
That is a great compliment to me, thank you. Would I be considered cocky if I were to agree with you? (Nuclear Blast)