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Arma Gathas - "Dead To This World" (CD)

Arma Gathas - "Dead To This World" CD cover image

"Dead To This World" track listing:

1. Antagonist
2. The rise and fall
3. Losing hope
4. The lies of man
5. The damage done
6. Liberate me
7. Depopulation
8. New savior
9. Generation Doom
10. Protagonist
11. God's Wrath
12. Constant Hunt for Blood
13. Our last goodbye - our final breath

Reviewed by on May 1, 2010

"The result is an album that is focused to a fault, brutal to injury, and uncompromising to a stalemate."

Arma Gathas is leading the charge back to old-school metalcore by playing metalcore the way it was meant to be played. Take a moment and read that last sentence again, because it is true. Arma Gathas is a metalcore super group of sorts, with its five members as former or current members of outfits like Cataract, Mine, Damage ID, Armicide, Born From Pain, Machinemade God, and Disloyal. Folks with that type of background don’t do clean vocals, keyboards, ballads, good-cop bad-cop, rap, or modern rock radio. They just body slam people with groove-laden riffs and brutal screams.

Clocking in at just 36 minutes for all 13 songs, Arma Gathas gets in and gets out of each song efficiently. Guitarists Simon Fullemann and Marc Niedersberg lay down mid-tempo, down tuned grooves, and vocalist Che Snelting belts out his gruff yells and yelps. The combination plays like a very pissed Pantera – Dimebag having finally hit alcoholic bottom and Anselmo enraged by a domestic dispute.

“The Lies Of Man” has a head-boppin’ groove at the end, preceded by a cool-as-a-cucumber solo with plenty of bends. It careens into “The Damage Done,” which is a syncopated riff monster combined with a two minute breakdown that just keeps breaking down farther. Most of the album mashes together, actually, with very short durations and very similar tempos and tuning. The songs all sound very similar and can meld together unless particular attention is paid. But the problem there is the brutal deliveries can give concussions, so distance is needed.

The fact that the songs are all so homogenous is both the blessing and curse of “Dead To This World.” As the songs play and mix together the lack of variation and constant noise, outside of the three instrumental tracks, gets pretty old. And Arma Gathas heightens this effect by writing the music to meld between songs seemingly deliberately – see the transitions between “The Damage Done,” “Liberate Me,” and “Depopulation” for a good example. So three short songs become one long, grinding opus.

But finding the gem moments within the monotonous mix is very rewarding. The build from depressed chug to wild solo and off-the-rails verse to satisfied chug and abrupt end on “Depopulation” is phenomenal. The brief guitar harmonies and layers on “New Saviour” are dexterous and exhilarating, and the breakdown at the end of “Generation Doom” is both dramatic and hard as hell.

Incubated for more than three years by band founder Fullemann, these 13 tracks have been culled down from more than three dozen initial song ideas. Fullemann was able to use those original songs to entice the rest of his super group, and they completed the full album as a collective. The result is an album that is focused to a fault, brutal to injury, and uncompromising to a stalemate. And whether we like “Dead To This World” or not, Arma Gathas won’t take no for, well, anything.

Highs: “New Saviour” and “Generation Doom” are the two standout tracks, with fierce riffs and brutal breakdowns.

Lows: The energy and dedication needed to enjoy the album is immense.

Bottom line: Metalcore as it was meant to be is back with this super group’s first LP.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)