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Arson Anthem - "Insecurity Notoriety" (CD)

Arson Anthem - "Insecurity Notoriety" CD cover image

"Insecurity Notoriety" track listing:

1. Naught
2. Foul Pride
3. Isolation Militia
4. More Than One War
5. Insecurity Notoriety
6. Pretty Like That
7. Initial Prick
8. Crippled Life
9. Polite Society Blacklist
10. If You Heard This You Would Hit Me
11. Hands Off Approach
12. Has Been/Has Been
13. Primate Envy
14. Death of An Idiot
15. Codependent and Busted
16. Kleptomania
17. Teach the Gun To Love the Bullet

Reviewed by on October 9, 2010

"Arson Anthem’s first full-length album 'Insecurity Notoriety' is like an adrenaline shot straight to the ticker."

Arson Anthem is not an original band, as the members will also tell you. They are recreating a sound made by the hardcore/thrash bands from the early 80s. The production is lo-fi and raw, you can hear them talking and laughing in the studio between songs, and the music is incredibly intense and chaotic. There is no polishing and pretty packaging here, which is refreshing to those who have watched the underground, DIY culture of metal turn into a tightly-wound industry that produces too many breakdowns and band shorts. “Insecurity Notoriety” will bring out the angry teenager in you, or if you’re too young to remember that, it will teach you a lesson in real, stripped-down metal.

You can’t go wrong with these guys. Mike IX Williams of Eyehategod on the mic (no pun intended), Philip Anselmo of Pantera and Down on guitar (didn’t you know he could play guitar?), Collin Yeo on bass, Hank III of his own band, and Assjack on drums. Let’s begin with Mike IX. His gruff screams just rip through your ears. In the hardcore manner, the lyrics are short phrases or single words quickly uttered. Mike screams about social injustices in songs like “Polite Society Blacklist,” “Isolation Militia,” and “More Than One War.” A few songs have gang choruses like “Death of an Idiot.” Most of the guys sing in other bands, so it’s cool to hear them do it together. Collin’s bass is very noticeable and very important, and it rivals the guitar for riff space. The tone of the bass is a growl, not a clean boom, and it adds to the vicious sound. It’s more like a rhythm guitar than the foundation.

Phil’s guitar is almost painful to listen to. The silvery, tin-can production makes the guitar screech during its high notes. It’s aggressive and raw, but can probably damage your hearing if you have it up too loud. His riffs are really fast and awesome and you may be tempted to play air guitar. There’s also a good use of stereo in songs like “Pretty Like That,” where two guitar tracks are layered, one in each ear playing something different. Title track “Insecurity Notoriety” has another influence that’s obvious: the Black Sabbath-esque guitar parts are slow and slightly psychedelic, unlike any other song on the album. Hank III began his musical career by playing in punk bands, and he brings that spirit to Arson Anthem. His playing is precise, yet insane; like little jabs to your brain. I don’t think that the drums are loud enough in the mix, as the intensity of the other instruments and vocals kind of cover it up. But if you listen closely, the drum rhythms are awesome, especially in “Primate Envy,” which has a tribal groove to it.

Arson Anthem’s first full-length album “Insecurity Notoriety” is like an adrenaline shot straight to the ticker. The seventeen songs have an average length of one minute. The exception is “Teach the Gun” that clocks in at three and a half minutes. This album is a great reminder of what metal today is made of; pure aggression and frustration. Mix some prescription meds, illicit substances, and jail time in there and you get “Insecurity Notoriety.”

Highs: Really raw, exciting, and classic.

Lows: The drums could be a little louder.

Bottom line: This album is like nothing on the market today.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

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)