Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sepultura - Arise (1991)

Arise is the fourth full-length album from Sepultura, and continues on in the Death / Thrash style that was utilized on Beneath the Remains. However, marks the point where the band began to experiment with their sound, using odd effects and injecting more groove into their music, as well as allowing some tribal percussion to make its way onto the album. Recorded in Morrisound and released in March 1991, this L.P. is both the end of the band's classic era as well as the beginning of its demise.

Musically, this album possesses a lot of similarities with its predecessor. In some cases, the riffs are less sterile and boring, yet there is an element that ruins much of this record. Rather than blasting ahead at break-neck speed, Sepultura takes every opportunity to slow things down and unleash pathetic groove riffs that kill the atmosphere. Following the rise of so-called 'Groove Metal' and 'nu-Metal', these songs have become even more difficult to listen to as they seem linked to such aural garbage. The fast-paced Death and Thrash riffs are incredible and demonstrate that the band could have done something really impressive, had they not been infected with the groove virus. Such riffs maintain a great level of intensity and display the band's skill as musicians. What the mid-paced parts show is that they were growing lazy and were losing touch with their Metal roots. It is quite unfortunate, as Arise is full of epic guitar harmonies and could have easily gone in another direction.

The production is what one would expect from Scott Burns, with the guitars sounding a little less defined and the bass more prominent than it should be. The sound is much too clean and plastic and is a far cry from such classic as Morbid Visions and Schizophrenia. Apparently, there was too much time to worry with the overall sound, in this case, meaning that they lost so much time playing with all of the new technology that they had never before been able to employ and the end result is over-produced and insincere. This actually suits the shift in the musical direction, which was obviously designed to appeal to a wider audience.

There is really nothing on Arise that was not done better on Beneath the Remains, in most cases. It is not a terrible album but, in light of what became of the band and the style of music that it helped spawn, it is to be looked back on with scorn and derision. This is what happens when you take a handful of apes out of the jungle and allow them to play around with modern equipment. Avoid this album and all the horrendous piles of trash that followed it.