Arise // The Reckoning
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Nostalgic and enjoyable
Label: Regain Records
Websites: ariseonline.com | myspace.com/ariseonline
Release Dates: EU: 22.03.2010 | US: 04.06.2010 [or out now?!?]

Arise was a little late on the uptake on the first go around of the Gothenburg sound, forming in 1996, but really getting their first demo out there in 1998 and getting signed about the time that all the death metal elitists I knew were already writing off the sound as “done”. However, unlike most of the bands from that era, they are still alive and kicking and putting out music of the style that was popular at the time. There’s some confusion about this record, which according to some sources came out last year, but it’s being promoted right now by Regain with a release date of the 22nd of March (which means it’s out now). It has, indeed, been a few years since Arise put out their last album, but even with the departure of two members, they don’t seem to have lost any steam.

Now don’t get me wrong, you could probably hum each of these tunes the first time through. If you’re even slightly familiar with the Gothenburg sound from the early/mid-1990s (Hypocrisy, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, At The Gates) then you have heard this band before a bajillion times. You probably first heard it when the Swedes did it. Then you heard it again when the Americans did it. And now there are some Swedes doing it again, and showing that when done without breakdowns and hardcore screams it can still be a sound that’s engaging and fun to listen to.

The record starts off with a bang, bursting out the door with the track “Adrenaline Rush”, which clocks in at under 2 minutes long, and it’s really pretty much a thrash and headbang fest for the next 41 minutes and 20 seconds. Aside from the track “Pitch Black”, a borderline Meshuggah-esque mechnical metal kind of track, these tracks are all pretty much the kind of thing that you are familiar with from Slaughter of the Soul. But, while not novel, it certainly is well done. Particularly the title track, “The Reckoning” and the final track “End of Days” stood out for me.

Fans of melodeath should definitely check this record out. It could be slightly addictive to the right listener, I think, but if you’ve had your fill of the Gothenburg sound then this is probably a record you can skip. That said, these guys are really good at what they’re doing. The songwriting is concise and addictive and the feel is heavy and solid and hasn’t lost any of its original intensity, like some of the other originating bands (who we won’t mention here—but who know who they are!) from the Gothenburg scene. All-in-all this is a very good record, it just lacks the novelty that the metal scene craves to keep itself fresh.

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