Arthemis - Black Society
Scarlet Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (46:09)
Release year: 2009
Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Pete

Black Society is Arthemis' fifth album. The band has been around since 1994 and although 5 albums in fifteen years isn't the best return for a band's creativity it's understandable that half of Arthemis is one half of Powerquest as well. From the outset of Fright Train it is obvious that Arthemis is a very different beast to that of the very melodic power metal of Powerquest. It's heavier, grittier and more urgent. In fact you could argue that Black Society is the sort of music Powerquest could and perhaps should dabble with a little more often. Mind you, if they did the waters between the two acts would muddy quite considerably.

I must confess to being a big fan of vocalist Alessio Garavello. Although not possessing the usual gravel tones of many metal vocalists, he makes up for it in clarity, power and range. As a result he makes the heavy tunes on Black Society instantly likable. Described in their press release as heavy-thrash the music is more akin to modern metal only dipping its musical toe into trash and likewise power metal. Guitarist Andrea Martongelli delivers some crushing yet simple but effective riffs all back up by an excellent bass friendly production giving the four-string boomer Matteo Galbier chance to shine.

Black Society is littered with great songs. Fright Train perhaps doesn't hit like a train, more like a shunter in third gear but it's a catchy track nonetheless. Angels In Black is the obvious 'single' and Electri-fire is the album's heaviest moment coming across as an Iced Earth idea having a push and shove with Symphorce. But the highlight but a long way is the seven-minute title track binding the whole album together. It's dark and chugs like a post 2000 Megadeth tune and also contains an excellent performance from Garavello (maybe the best I've heard him).

Unfortunately, when the middle of an album contains such a highlight the second half can only go down hill. To Arthemis credit Black Society doesn't slide too much. Gravello shows off his impressive ear for melody on Mechanical Plague, and Zombie Eater, the latter being the highlight of the second half and has a great ride out and quality scream. But it can't all be good and Let It Roll and the upbeat Mr Evil could've been axed to make room for another epic style song or a slow Sabbath-esque tune. Because it doesn't, Mr Evil leaves Black Society on a little bit of an anti climax. It's not a bad song, I just feel the band are worthy of delivering a little more, or perhaps that's just me being picky.

I really enjoyed this album, and continue to do so as it's lodged in my car's CD player good and proper. I've already admitted my bias towards Alessio Garavello but had this disc been a stinker I would've said so. Thankfully it's a solid metal album containing some impressive performances and great cuts. It may not change your life or blow your world apart but it'll make you glad you invested your time on them or indeed spent money purchasing Black Society.

Killing Songs :
Fright Train, Electri-Fire, Escape, Black Society, Zombie Eater
Pete quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Arthemis that we have reviewed:
Arthemis - Back From the Heat reviewed by Cody and quoted 75 / 100
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