Written by: Scorpi
Diving headfirst into Bandcamp’s metal releases often goes one of two ways. You either spend ages looking for something worthy of your undivided attention, a task that feels like crawling through mud to find an elusive treasure, or you absolutely nail the first album you pick.
In Arcaine’s case, they were the immediate jackpot. No spinning reels endlessly losing all your cold, hard cash to find this one.
Arcaine are an emerging deathcore quintet from Chur, Switzerland, founded in 2015. They are made up of vocalist Adrian Gisler, guitarists Brandon Wildhaber (lead) and Renato Herzog (rhythm), bassist Rinaldo Gaudenz, and drummer Reto Camenisch. As Life Decays is their debut album, and they couldn’t have given themselves a much better platform to become one of the best modern metal bands out there.
As Life Decays is a breathless, unforgiving display of crushing death metal infused with core tendencies. The riffs are monstrous, aided by the high-gain distortion of the guitars and the obsidian bass tones. The vocals are outright brutal, if clean singing is what you’re looking for then you will have to look elsewhere. Similar can be said for melody, as there is seldom use of it as Arcaine tend to focus on sounding as violent as possible. The drumming performances are also superb, guaranteed to pummel your ears into submitting to their will. The album is just over 30 minutes in duration, paired with its aggressive style the album seems to come and go quite rapidly.
What keeps me coming back for more is how huge the sound is. The guitars sound so powerful & thick, oscillating every millimeter of your eardrums. And Arcaine manage to make the guitars sound massive without being detrimental to the other instruments or the vocalist, so it is safe to say the production work is spot on here. Equally, the drums sound thunderous and mechanical, creating a wall of crushing sound that gets the blood pumping through your veins. The perfect ingredients to make Arcaine’s largely percussive riffs shine.
There isn’t much variety at hand on As Life Decays, but it never feels like it really needs it. As mentioned before, the runtime is around 30 minutes long, so it’s not necessary for them to change it up too much. It's short enough to keep your attention, but long enough to feel like you got your money’s worth. Although there were a handful of listen-throughs where it felt like the album could have done with a couple more tracks. But that’s probably because I was enjoying the album so much, rather than feeling short-changed.
It is worth mentioning here that the vocals are seriously impressive. Adrian Gisler sounds like a seasoned pro already, and maybe he is. His barks are aggressive but controlled. He’s like a gargantuan beast lurking in the mix, ready to rip you to pieces when he so wishes. Although whilst listening I have been left curious as to how his cleans would fit in on a record such as this one. Perhaps an avenue they could explore further down the line.
As Life Decays is a more-than-solid debut from Arcaine. It’s a relatively brief, yet brutal adventure that is immensely enjoyable from start to finish. If you love big, brash sounding guitars that churn out thick, chuggy riffs then this album will be a feast for you. The vocals are just as brutal and relentless without conflicting with the instruments for supremacy. It’s an album that makes no compromises, and has announced Arcaine’s arrival in the profoundest way possible. If you’ve had a shitty day at work and need to let loose, I can’t think of many better albums to alleviate such frustrations.
Arcaine - As Life Decays was released Feb. 14th from Black Sunset / MDD
Scorpi also writes reviews and creates content at Abrasive Noise. Now that you're done reading this, you should head over there and check it out!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!