Arsis is a technical metal band from Virginia Beach, Virginia, which was formed during Christmas of 2000. The group’s main man and founder Malone played all instruments and wrote all songs initially. He is a former student at the Berklee College Of Music and a violinist. Mike Van Dyne who quit the band in 2007 accompanied him. The two recorded demos in 2001 and 2002. The band signed with Willowtip. A 2005 EP was called A Diamond For A Disease. Drummer Darren Cesca performed on the band’s nuclear Blast debut, We Are The Nightmare, but was soon fired over playing style differences. Battlemaster’s Alex Tomlin and subsequently Shawn Pries toured with Arsis. On December 21st, 2008, Ryan Knight announced his departure from Arsis in order to join The Black Dahlia Murder. The band was again down to one guitarist.
Arsis dropped off two tours in a row, namely one with The Faceless and one with Carcass. Apparently, guitarist Jim Malone had been losing 45 kilograms in a matter of months hence leading to his illness. Original drummer and founding member Michael VanDyne - who played on the band’s debut album, A Celebration Of Guilt, 2005’s A Diamond For Disease EP and 2006’s United In Regret - had returned to the band’s line-up. The old new man would not be touring the band on longer hauls because of his full-time career. Arsis picked Starve For The Devil as the title for its next studio album, which was due in the winter of 2010 through Nuclear Blast Records. The album was recorded that autumn with producer Chris "Zeuss" Harris who had worked with Agnostic Front. Bassist Noah Martin, who announced his departure from Virginia’s Arsis in September 2008, returned to the band’s line-up in May of 2010. The band was on the Facemelter Tour with Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Annotations Of An Autopsy and Conducting From The Grave when bassist Nathaniel Carter abruptly left. The band played several shows as a trio. Firewind announced its first North American headlining tour, named the Frets Of Fury, for October of 2011 featuring support from Arsis, White Wizzard and Nightrage. Guitarist and vocalist Jim Malone was sitting out the band's Frets Of Fury tour with Firewind, White Wizard and Nightrage in October due to personal reasons including work obligations. Arsis next recruited Shawn Priest as a replacement for drummer Mike VanDyne. Priest had toured with Arsis in the past. Nick Cordle was recruited into Arch Enemy. Arsis picked Unwelcome as the title for its fifth album, which was due in October through Nuclear Blast Records. The album was recorded at Audiohammer Studios in Florida with producer Mark Lewis. Arsis recruited guitarist Brandon Ellis to replace guitarist Nick Cordle who replaced Christopher Amott in Arch Enemy.
The band’s name is a musical term denoting an upbeat or unaccented part of a measure in contrast to a musical Thesis.
ARSIS – WE ARE THE NIGHTMARE – NUCLEAR BLAST
We Are The Nightmare is the band’s first album on Nuclear Blast and consequently the group’s first opportunity to introduce itself to a bigger audience after being chained down by Willowtip and Earache on the last two albums. The question is, what sort of a market or audience is there for a band like Arsis. Firstly, despite the monicker and artwork, this is not a pseudo metal band a la Neurosis or whoever. In fact, the calm acoustic intro is one of the most misleading pieces of music ever. A few seconds following the strumming the band launches into a bona fide whirlwind of blasting and grinding techno-metal that will wipe the smile off the face of any metalcore loser. The band’s high-speed pursuit of technicality is tempered by an omnipresent insistence on melodies and stunning guitar licks. The band is a superior concoction of Dillinger Escape Plan, Into Eternity and King Diamond. It is extremely extreme and melodically melodious. The drummer is not playing staccato. He is more like the leader of the spastics not-so-anonymous. Too bad Darren Cesca is already history. The vocals are extreme growls, yet are not of the howling pig kind. The 1,000 riffs per minute are matched by the 2,000 kph speed and wrapped within very interesting metal riffing. A Feast For The Liars Tongue (a US Military reference) has several replica King Diamond riffs and is followed by the slower and calmer Failure’s Conquest (which is not listed on the back cover) where the band lets the listeners off the hook – just a tad.
This CD arrived with the label debut of Canada’s Divinity. The package merely served to contrast this bunch’s talent versus the trendy wanna-be attempts of the latter. Arsis almost has it all. It is crazy, fast, blasting, technical and impressive in its talent and energy. – Ali “The Metallian”