Arghoslent – Galloping Through the Battle Ruins (1998)

galloping through the battle ruins

Article by David Rosales

Arghoslent are frequently and incorrectly tagged as a death metal band while they are actually a speed metal seasoned with a traditional heavy metal approach to the use of melody and soloing that goes can be described as lyrical or ‘singable’. The barking vocals that are featured here are the only thing that is borrowed directly from death metal and their usage is still more heavy metal in nature, given that the relationship of vocals to the underlying music is more akin to the riff-riding of Ozzy than the punching counterpoint of Suffocation or Gorguts.

There is more of Manilla Road’s Crystal Logic than Slayer’s Hell Awaits here; where the latter has a clear thematic development going on in riffs and the former is more conservatively classical in its harmony. Also, the long-term structuring is the subtle, progressive path of ‘epic’ heavy metal, so termed as to not mix it up with the carnival music of more ‘open’ bands who would appropriate the official name of seventies classically and jazz-inspired experimental rock music.

In Galloping Through the Battle Ruins, Arghoslent seem a little careless regarding the character or emotional quality (for lack of a better term) of the implied harmony, often incurring in silly or happy-sounding passages which would sound completely out of place in most death or black metal. These are, however, a common staple of technically-oriented speed metal as it exploits scale-wise expansion of patterns, often resorting to sequences.

At the Gates circumvented this unavoidable side effect of using sequences in their earliest work by following through with complete transpositions of a same mode to new tonal centers instead of adhering to the sprawling stepping-stones of fully-defined classical harmony. Arghoslent, on the other hand, and like any traditional heavy or speed metal band, remains rooted in this latter orthodoxy, accepting and making use of any bright arpeggios with far more openness than more-evolved underground metal would allow.

Arghoslent Galloping Through the Battle Ruins achieves an effective balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces by bringing in some of the conservative (by which “pop-structured” is not meant) spirit of proper death metal to the epic intent of an Iron Maiden in their best hour with ‘The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner’ or ‘Phantom of the Opera’. Furthermore, this album is dirty and thrashy, grounding it and preventing the music from becoming overly fond of itself or too self-conscious. The latter is an ever-present and far more subtle trap that may even be perceived in Cóndor’s sophomore effort.

An inevitable comparison may be drawn to The Chasm, who are hailed for the density and apparently more complex structures. But where The Chasm gets lost in its own dreams of madness as songs are taken from promising illusion and wonder into confusion and pointlessness, Arghoslent remains stalwart; their resolute convictions clearly stamped on well-balanced music that brings a sense of adventure to visions of crude reality, and the fantasy of time travel with the brutal honesty of an unrepressed child.

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17 thoughts on “Arghoslent – Galloping Through the Battle Ruins (1998)”

  1. vOddy says:

    Wow

    I am pleasantly surprised.
    I am hearing this for the first time, it’s exciting and almost even invigorating

  2. vOddy says:

    I’ll probably buy this

    1. adjsjaos says:

      Haha, interesting description.

      So what album matches that spirit with a sense of consequence? Blood Fire Death maybe?

      1. vOddy says:

        Blood Fire Death may be a good candidate for that. I haven’t given it much thought, because when I heard it I was a musical idiot. But you reminded me of it. I thank you for that.

        A lot of metal has some mixture of the two, since they are classical themes well suited to be described by metal. Even this album, I must admit, has a little bit of the latter in its later parts.

        The examples that I can think of for a more or less balanced mixture of fighting spirit and fighting suffering do not express them in the same way as this.
        For example, I interpret a somewhat even balance from Obituary, at their best. The music is slightly tilted towards the suffering, but not as tilted as this is towards the spirit.

        This describes a human mentality, a spirit.
        Obituary describe death, fear, dangerous situations, etc.
        They do not directly describe any fighting spirit, but it still arises. In metal, an emotional or mental state can be described directly, or a thing which evokes that state can be described.

        Obituary do the latter, this does the former.

        There are also other obvious differences. Obituary is more isolated, lonely, and fragile. It’s like you are being attacked, and forced to fight or escape, instead of attacking after good preparation. The glory is less overt and of a darker nature. But the fighting spirit, which admittedly is indirectly evoked rather than directly described, is closely related to the spirit on display here. Both seem to be about struggling for victory, but in different environments.

        1. fenrir says:

          This is great brainstorming and an interesting elaboration. Why don’t you send a version of this to the editor?

          1. vOddy says:

            My ideas and the way that I present them are not good enough yet, But I am improving, and I will eventually be ready.

            1. vOddy says:

              For one, I think that I need to learn more music theory so that I can articulate my thoughts more accurately

  3. vOddy says:

    Like fighting spirit without the horrible pain and suffering that comes with what such a spirit can lead to – For better or for worse, musically.
    Or perhaps just the mind of one who has stopped fearing it?

  4. adjsjaos says:

    This is the album that converted me or at least made me realize Arghoslent wasn’t always just a dumb shit melodic band with a controversial gimmick. A fine LP, and certainly their best despite popular opinion. (Incorrigible Bigotry is too cloying/bouncy/melodically babyish in comparison, and Hornets… is way overproduced)

    Funny how Grand Belial’s Key had he same three album arc.
    borderline genius debut -> streamlined, overly obvious followup that gets all the praise -> weird third album that brings all the complexity back but is only pretty good

  5. Roger says:

    THANK YOU FOR PRESENTING SOMETHING WORTHWHILE FOR ONCE.

  6. thebestgoyim says:

    Well I almost thought this was a good album, but then I read the lyrics and they’re so RRRAAAAAAAYYYCCCCCIIIIISSSSSS and ANTI-SEMITIC!!!!! How could any one have tolerated this! This album is from 1998 not 1933!!! Why don’t they make metal about something more noble, like the art of prepping strong black bulls?

    1. vOddy says:

      This poster’s website:

      Huffingtonpost.com

      Well done.
      You deserve a slow clap from a standing crowd.

      1. vOddy says:

        Don’t get me wrong, the post was mediocre C grade trolling, but adding the website was clever and redemptive.

    2. Anthony says:

      Don’t they know that it’s [current year], not [previous year]? I’m so triggered right now. You can’t be playing music like this in [current year]. They should be like Deafheaven instead. Working at Whole Foods, playing alternative rock (which is deep and sophisticated, unlike troglodyte metal), having sex with the elderly, and not offending anybody.

      1. LostInTheANUS says:

        Don’t forget that being a trendy barista is also a big plus!

  7. OliveFox says:

    I remember in one weird interview Gelal said that he applauded Obama because he was an intelligent black guy, but that the continent of Africa should be wiped off the earth. Wish I could still find it. Odd guy, his hatred is infectious but often unfocused.

  8. morbideathscream says:

    I remember being given a cd-r of incorrigible bigotry years ago, I was disappointed when I listened to it. I spun the CD a few times since and that album never clicked with me. Arghoslent ended up being one of those bands that I wanted to like, but couldn’t. Then today I finally listened to galloping through the battle ruins, being that it had been discussed here, I was pleasantly surprised and I can see where the band gets its praise from even with sjw weaklings wishing they can like it. Much to the dismay of sjw’s and other pc fags I will proudly purchase this reissue when I’m caught up with bills.

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