Arsis - Lepers Caress
Scion Audio Visual
Technical Melodic Death Metal
6 songs (19:11)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Koeppe

I know grammar proficiency doesn’t make one a badass or anything, but seriously could heavy metal hire an editor? Arsis' newest EP is titled Lepers Caress, and not what I would assume it to be, instead, Leper’s Caress. Without the apostrophe, the album title connotes the plural of lepers, that lepers do, in fact, caress things, rather than if it had an apostrophe connoting possesion instead pointing to an instance of a leper’s caress. Maybe I’m missing something here, but it seems rather silly. Anyways, regardless of this EP’s intention, it does signify one thing: that James Malone is still perfectly capable of being badass. He refrained from touring this past year with the band in order to stabilize his personal life, but with plans to tour at the beginning of next year and the release of this, good things seem to be on the horizon. That is, if this release is any good, right?

The album begins with an instrumental, which is something new for the guys, and seems to operate in that realm of Arch Enemy’s Amott brothers trying to create an evil, brooding vibe while displaying their melodic chops. That Arch Enemy vibe remains in the next track, Six Coffins Wide as the technical virtuosity on display here builds up to a rather anthemic chorus as the title is chanted. My mention of Arch Enemy could be read as a jab against Malone and co., yet unlike the aforementioned, Arsis remains as gripping as always with this release through refraining from every being off-putting with their technicality or overtly cheesy with the melody that they incorporate. The bass is nearly non-existent in the recording, which would be more heart-breaking if this wasn’t an Arsis record; the guys make do quite well without it. At times, the drumming sounds dull, yet is never consistently in the fore enough to make it a problem. The amazing cymbal work that stood out on A Celebration of Guilt has just sadly never returned. Veil of Mourning Black is a re-recording of a track from the band’s 2002 demo. The production here is a little more forceful, the parts crisper, Malone’s vocals less distorted being more enunciated. The midway stop-start bears a little more weight with that production bearing a heavier punch than on the demo. The track “Carve My Cross” opens with that raspy shout that Malone did back on A Celebration of Guilt’s “The Sadistic Motives Behind Bereavement Letters” before breaking into a strong riff that carries the song. The song sticks around a little longer than it maybe should, but in that way makes the closing track all the more welcome. The band rarely does tracks shorter than three minutes and this track truly puts that decision under question. The guitars have more than enough room to be put on display while maintaining the intensity that the other tracks bear. It's like a single shot of 90 proof Arsis to wrap up the album.

This EP does what EPs are supposed to do rather well. I, as you all should be as well, am stoked now to hear their upcoming full-length, Unwelcome. What makes any one Arsis album better than another is the blend of technicality and melody. Drops in quality in their discography tend to reflect the presence of one element over the other. On this EP, the band really melds the two by utilizing a melodic riff to counter the intricate solos keeping the listener hooked. This truly seems to promise a return to form for the band in the near future.

You can download the album for no cost from here via Scion. I’m not sure if this is supposed to make you want to buy a new car or what, but I’m not complaining.

Killing Songs :
Denied, Six Coffins Wide
Koeppe quoted no quote
Other albums by Arsis that we have reviewed:
Arsis - Starve For The Devil reviewed by Kyle and quoted 80 / 100
Arsis - We Are The Nightmare reviewed by Ben and quoted 88 / 100
Arsis - United In Regret reviewed by Dylan and quoted 72 / 100
Arsis - A Celebration of Guilt reviewed by Alex and quoted 89 / 100
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