At one time there was just heavy metal – one all encompassing genre heading. Once the gates were swung open, though, a multitude of subgenres came crashing out, from thrash to power metal, technical metal, progressive metal, screamo, metal core and more. Perhaps the biggest strength of Arisen from Nothing is the fact that they seem to borrow from all the diverse styles of heavy metal without being tied to anyone style. They deftly assemble various styles (sometimes several in one song) into a sound that never feels patched together.
Sound effects including a clanging bell open the album on “Duplicity.” Acoustic guitar (with more sound effects in the background) creates an intricate, pretty and somewhat melancholy melody line. As this acoustic guitar solo continues hints of Spanish guitar are heard at one or two points. This all instrumental cut opens the set in style.
Pounding out heavy and aggressive, the title track presents a stark contrast to the opening sedate textures. The vocals are angry and quite modern in nature. This is quite similar to something from bands like Disturbed. It’s equally captivating, too. Some of the guitar work, though, seems more in line with older heavy metal. The guitar solo section, in particular, is crunchy, yet also quite melodic. It’s, perhaps, more in line with European power metal. Musically, parts of “Mesmerized” (specifically the guitar “chirps” that rise up) call to mind some of the more brutal metallic guitar sounds heard on Alice Cooper’s Brutal Planet album. That said, the vocals and general song structure, again make one think of Disturbed quite a bit.
Sound effects start “Bring the War.” After a short spoken soundbite they pound out into some serious metalcore/screamo. The vocals land this into extreme metal territory. The guitar lines that dance around are quite tasty. This is very aggressive, but also well produced. It’s easy for something like this to get muddy and turn to just noise. They avoid that here. There is a section later with more melodic vocals and it calls to mind European power metal. There is also a drop back to weird, but melodic music that leans towards progressive metal. This is actually quite a dynamic cut, representing a number of different styles of metal. There are even a couple sections that seem to be in line with technical metal.
Drums open “Russian Roulette” and then a plodding old-school metal sound joins. It shifts to something that feels a bit like Anthrax. The vocals come in over the top keeping that kind of sound in place. In fact, in a lot of ways the song really feels like it could have come from Anthrax. There are some European melodic vocals in some sections, though, lending more variety to the tune and the album. This is another cut that’s quite diverse and dynamic.
More mainstream heavy metal sounds open “The Shallow,” but the screamed vocals pull it into more extreme territory. There are some intriguing melodic movements built into this piece, too. There is even a little technical metal in the midst of the cut. “Sick” has an old school metal sound in terms of the music, but the vocals bring it into more modern extreme metal territory. There are sections of this song that call to mind Anthrax, but other parts that are closer to more melodic old-school metal. The album’s closer, “Faith in Violence,” is another modern metal tune with links towards a lot of varying heavy metal styles. Some of the chorus parts here are among the most accessible of the set.
There’s nothing dramatically creative here. However, the combination of varying metal sounds is original and really earns these guys a ticket to higher levels of greatness. Anyone who enjoys a wide range of heavy metal will find plenty to like here. This is quite a strong release.
Review by G. W. Hill
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)