Devourer of worlds it the Debut album from Wisconsin four piece Ara. Despite only being two years old, this band have pumped out an EP and an album in fairly quick succession, and complex music such as this is not easy to churn out unless all the parts are working perfectly in unison. In this case, they are working. They’re working bloody well.
After dissonant chords creep through the speakers, a whirl of atonal guitars, harsh vocals and machine-gun fire drums opens up devourer of worlds. The album continues to blast away with conviction and brutality, with hints of melody between the sledgehammer riffing and the reckless insanity of Ara’s sound. This album took me several listens to get my teeth into, most albums I listen to often do. On the first listen, it is obvious that these guys can REALLY play (and growl) their instruments. The second listen peels back more layers of mechanically furious joy, and further explorations reveal yet more delights. Its like an onion made of chocolate and whiskey.
Candidly, I am surprised by the technical death metal tag on this band, because it does not describe their sound in full. To me, Ara are a band that very nearly bridge the gap between two obscure subgenres of extreme metal; technical death metal and a kind of avant-garde black metal. However, like every review, this is just my own conjecture. You might listen to this and this “Christ Andy, what are you thinking?” I invite you to make up your own mind about this record, with its spectacular discord and its intricacy.
The ten tracks feel longer than the 44 minutes that they are. The production is somewhat unpolished, but that is my only complaint. Perhaps it is because there is so much going on. Each part is working in a complex polyphony to the others. Insectile Aberration is my favourite track by far. Its groove invites the listener to headbang along to it, it walks the line between tech and groove, something I often try to do with my own band. This feels effortless, like the band could just throw sounds at each other and come up with absolute belters like this. Not your average Necrophagist worshipping bunch of musicians, more a group of men who really know their craft and love the death metal subgenre. They craft the musical equivalent of a surgically precise seizure. Its mental, chaotic and dangerous, but its accurate and precise within its own confines.
Ara have a uniqueness to their sound that sits somewhere between MITHRAS styled death metal technicality and the lawless, insane noodling riffs of DEATHSPELL OMEGA. Add in a load of other, possibly unidentifiable (but undeniably evil) influences, and you’ve got this band. You almost can’t grab hold of these songs, its like trying to hold on to a miniature Cthulhu; slippery, malicious and inherently devious. They show a disregard for the rules of the genre. They ignore convention and they laugh at what people might think they are upon first glance. I have heard of a few bands that unite traditionally opposed subgenres, Ara are another band to put on that small but fascinating list.
James Becker – Bass/Vocals
Adam Bujny – Vocals
Jerry Hauppa – Guitars
Jon Liedtke – Guitars
Erick Stenglein – Drums
Review By Andy Prowse]]>