Arbalest- Harbingers Of Devolution

Arbalest's debut album, 'Harbingers Of Devolution,' brings a heavy mix of deathcore, melodic death metal, and metalcore together for a furious and enjoyable blend of metal. Opening up with the industrial influenced sci fi "Harbingers...," the computerized sound mixed with the drums and synthesized vocals is already an intriguing pull for listeners. Once the metal really picks up with "New Breed," fans can hear traces of influences from Disarmonia Mundi through the guitar layering, a combination of deep growls and mid paced snarls that resemble more along the lines of something like Threat Signal, and deep, pulverizing chugs of deathcore that might resemble something like In The Midst Of Lions. The good news is that it is all put together so it changes up every once in a while rather than just stick to one genre of metal through the whole track and then switch to another one later so the music becomes oddly predictable. Arbalest try their best to stay away from this.

Other tracks like "Amaurosis" and "Life Is Only As Tight..." reflect more of the melodic death metal style overall- especially with the keyboard/ industrial bits scattered about. There is less chugging and more complex musical structures that further show the bands ingenuity while refraining from being too cheesy or overdone. There are a few tracks that make a lot of use of the industrial influences like "The Horror You Created" which sounds like a techno driven track that the recent Morbid Angel would have decided to do, or the dreamy ambiance of "Bedtime Romance" that has the heavier guitar chords serve as an excellent contrast on how two very different sounds can work together. Of course the most melodic bit would be the brief instrumental "...Of Devolution," which turns away from the chord chug n' pull style and goes directly for a great metalcore/ melodic death metal mixed sound that allows the guitars to be heard separately rather than smudged together. The drums are very simple and repetitive in about only four different beats, but the easy going pace works for the band wonderfully at conveying all the right melodies for the music.

'Harbingers...' is certainly worth checking out for those who like a good blend of metal that is progressive without sounding too much like progressive metal. It's still heavy and can be a kick in the teeth (though it may not be as brutal as the new Decapitated album). The melody serves as a great cushion for those who don't like to feel like their ears are being nailed to a wall of sound constantly and will edge in some support from those who may like more mainstream or 'toned down' metal. A band like Arbalest that tries to serve an all-around dose of music is better than those who may just serve something that tends to be a bit one sided while sticking to only one genre of music.

  1. Harbingers...
  2. New Breed
  3. Amaurosis
  4. Aurora
  5. Through Hell
  6. ... Of Devolution
  7. The Horror You Created
  8. Life Is Only As Tight As You Wear It
  9. Embrace The Moment
  10. Brutality Devours You
  11. Bedtime Romance
  12. Save Yourself

Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Jul 25, 2011
Next review: Neuroma - Extremophile

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