Arsonists Get All The Girls

Portals

Written by: BL on 18/12/2009 19:10:16

I find myself trying to get back into the swing of things by picking up the rest of my backlog of albums. Starting with Californian experimental deathcore outfit Arsonists Get All The Girls' "Portals". Over the past couple of years the band has had to put up with the death of band member bassist Patrick Mason and the departure of their vocalist Cameron Reed within a short period of time. They've managed to move forward with the band despite all that's happened and now release this, their third full length.

The most accurate way to describe the sound that you will hear from this album is if you took Between The Buried And Me, Horse The Band and War From A Harlot's Mouth and literally threw them into a blender. Considering that those bands don't exactly stick to playing consistent elements in their music already, it should become apparent that in the end everything becomes quite convoluted and just down right devoid of structure at times - to a degree. Because you see it's a somewhat confined sense of creativeness because everything is far more restricted than the aforementioned bands in their respective key components. The 8-bit nintendo synthesizers make an appearance almost on every track, yet they never really make any lasting impression other than to provide a lot of the random lead melodies ontop of the chugging and blitzing guitar work. Which can at times, in true Between The Buried And Me and War From A Harlot's Mouth fashion, flourish wonderfully (like the soaring and sweeping solo on "Violence In Fluid: Triceratops" and the random jazz parts on "I Lost My Loss Of Ruin"). But add a breakdown here and some generic deathcore riffing there and you fill the rest of the gaps - which are a little too wide for my liking.

Newcomer vocalist Jared Monette is unfortunately unable to add any real distinguishable colour to the proceedings either, his mid range to low guttural growls disappointinly cookie cutter in every sense - even in their natural ground of the breakdown sections where one is repeatedly turning to the synths for any interesting development. Songs tend to feel like they drag on for unnecessarily long periods of time, which is a result of all the components of the band's sound trying to fit into every song. Not only that but a lot of the songs feel too similar to one another, everything feels too jumbled. I very much enjoyed the more melodic parts (like the 2:40 mark of "In The Empyreans"), but they're too few and far between. One minute you'd be hearing some nice melodic development only to suddenly be force-fed some random heavy part that makes little sense as well as failing to really rattle the cage so to speak. It just feels like each part is glued onto the previous (a problem with many bands these days).

While one must commend the band for being able to continue making music after personal tragedy, it is difficult to really recommend "Portals" just because it simply couldn't hold my interest any more than simply fleeting. There are some worthwhile parts throughout, and if anything you do get the initial entertainment value just because of how weird everything gets occasionally, except for the painfully long silence included in the closer that leads onto some random country music section (after some odd voice clips). Which is another thing, I wish bands would stop making final tracks longer by using silence for what seems like an age - it's ever so aggravating.

Download: In The Empyreans, Violence In Fluid: Triceratops, Portals
For the fans of: Between The Buried And Me, Horse The Band, War From A Harlot's Mouth
Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.07.2009
Century Media

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