Published Oct 31, 2018Arsis are no stranger to conjuring up terrifying imagery almost at will. On Visitant, their first record in five years, the Virginia Beach quartet put forth their most consistent effort since We Are the Nightmare. This time around, guitarist James Malone draws many an influence from the macabre world of horror, putting a spooktacular spin on the band's signature blend of melodic and technical death metal.
With Black Dahlia Murder guitarist Brandon Ellis in tow (which makes the hints of that band's sound here a welcome boost), the riffs chug with unrelenting force and solos sweep you off your feet. Dual leads abound on "Easy Prey" and "A Pulse Keeping Time with the Dark"; couple that with the galloping guitars and relentless rhythms of "Funeral Might" and "Hell Sworn" and you've got the perfect backing to the Headless Horseman wreaking havoc in Sleepy Hollow.
The nods to under-appreciated monster movies like Silver Bullet and Prince of Darkness make opener "Tricking the Gods" one of Arsis's best tracks. With the slow swells of tension, it's not long before the blast beats of Sean Priest kick in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride. The lyrics paint a grim and bloody picture of a lycanthropic rampage. An American Werewolf in London said it best: "Beware the moon."
Visitant is not just the best quasi-conceptual Halloween record of 2018, it shows Arsis willing to incorporate new ideas to compose something full of tricks and treats. (Agonia)