Ara – Devourer of Worlds


Ara drop into a difficult niche of the metal market, trying to be a fusion between modern metal or “technical death metal” like later Gorguts and contemporary Unique Leader bands who incorporate a mix of old death metal and new deathcore styles. The result causes a necessary re-examination of the difference between death metal and modern metal.

In music, composition can take roughly three approaches which can result in nearly infinite forms. In the first approach, the main urge gratified is the need for repetition and so verse-chorus patterns provide the basis with a possible “ironic” or “bittersweet” contrasting turn-around, transition or bridge. This is the most common song format, which like common tempi and common keys is chosen for the convenience of cognition both by composer and audience. The second approach takes a different view which places form in the control of the song instead of the other way around. In structure dominant songwriting of this type, melody or phrases fit together into a narrative, and this narrative — representative of content — dictates form. The problem with this form is that it is difficult, because each piece must relate to all others, instead of a reduced external standard like merely being in the same key. The third form avoids the problems of the first two by being novelty-based and requiring very little commonality between parts of a song arrangement, and generally arose from the fusion of punk rock and progressive rock, which produced more complex punk rock that often had little relation to its parts beyond rhythm. This brings us to the present time, where the structure-based and novelty-based approaches war it out in metal.

During the 1960s, rock fragmented into multiple forms. One of these, starting with experiments by The Beatles and other big pop acts, was the progressive form in which song arrangement was dictated by the needs of a narrative to the music itself; not surprisingly, many of these works were built around literature, mythology or an intricate story arc of their own. This in turn spawned the most ambitious experiments with structure which came from the space ambient bands like Tangerine Dream who did away with drums and any of the fixed aspects of progressive rock that made their songs at least initially represent standard song form. The parents who bought this material were Baby Boomers, whose music buying years of 18-28 occurred mostly between 1964-1984, and their children — who generally hit maturity from 1984-1994 — were the Generation X musicians who created death metal and black metal, and many of them inherited their parents’ albums, which since underground metal seemed to attract a fairly intelligent crop, represented the more interesting music from the previous generation. Much of the influence of progressive rock and space ambient or cosmic music came through in this generation of metal, much like the influence of aggro-prog bands like King Crimson and Jethro Tull emerged in Black Sabbath the generation before. In addition, the instrumentals from Metallica such as “Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” and “Orion” as well as the lengthy “epic” compositions of some late-1970s progressive-tinged heavy metal and guitar rock influenced the new generation. For this reason, when proto-underground metal combined heavy metal with hardcore punk, it also added the type of composition used in progressive rock, from which came the process by which Asphyx calls “riff-glueing” where riffs are mated to each other on the basis of a dialogue between the phrases used in them, discarding harmony as the sole basis of compatibility along with the late-1980s “progressive punk” idea of novelty-based composition. This gave death metal its most unique aspect: prismatic composition, or the ability for riffs to be repeated in successively different contexts, such that each new iteration reveals a new interpretation based on what came before, much as in a poem that uses the same technique with repeated lines like a villanelle. While this is often a relatively minor influence, as with Morbid Angel, it remains an influence on all death metal and the dividing line between it and the imitators.

The most significant influences on Ara look to be the post-Suffocation thread of percussive death metal culminating in Unique Leader bands like Deeds of Flesh through a more complex interpretation of late-90s bands like Internal Bleeding and Dying Fetus, the 2010s interpretation of that as hybrid indie-rock known as “technical death metal” or modern metal, and old school progressive death metal like Gorguts Obscura and Demilich Nespithe. These influence style, not necessarily content, although when bands lose direction they reverse the compositional process and have style determine content, as opposed to the better method of having content select style. Ara show an insight into both riffcraft, or the act of writing riffs themselves, and the type of transitions in song that give meaning to previous riffs by shifting context. Unfortunately, they attempt to make music within the novelty-based style which interrupts itself to provide contrast instead of relying on the inherent contrast produced by such transitional moments. Bassy vocals ride herd on a stream of relatively unrelated riffs, sometimes culminating in a moment of parallax transferrence where a new riff makes the past seem to mean something entirely different, over precision technical drums. Riff forms borrow from “technical death metal,” itself a fusion of post-hardcore and lite jazz with the degraded simplified forms of late-90s death metal, and so a great variety of technique serves as the basis of these riffs, but unfortunately often this makes the riff a function of the technique and not vice-versa. If someone were to give this band good advice, it would be to look to those transitional moments and the riffs that really define each song and make all of the other riffs lead up to and support that moment even through opposing themes, which is a better method of contrast than attempting to shock the ear with radically difference or irony to the previous riff through technique alone. They have clearly mastered technique, as flourishes and fills which show influence from Gorguts and Demilich as well as a host of other metal and non-metal influences reveal, but it is the underlying structure of a song in such a way that evokes meaning which eludes them.


Devourer of Worlds contains a good album waiting to get out, but as it stands now, it forms painful listening because of its internal disorganization and reliance on technique alone. That makes it so much like two aspects of modern society, marketing and ideology, which serve as denial of reality using the mechanism of language and image to convince people that there is a way around the obvious realities of life. One can either focus on reality and deal with its limitations and implications, or look to symbols as a form of reality and manipulate those and then claim the result is the same as one innate to reality itself. All marketing, including advertising and propaganda, and all ideology, which combines prescriptive reasoning with propaganda to make the recipient feel pleasure at the rightness of a decision instead of its likely positive results, fit within this range of form dictating content and not the other way around. If reality is content, the form we should admire is that which fits to reality; when form is content, reality becomes secondary and we retreat into a ghetto of the human mind and forget about implication for what will result. As with all art, in music when the surface becomes predominant over content, it requires the core of each song to simplify itself or become near-random, at which point the work loses any sense of being memorable or meaningful and must content itself with novelty. These songs tend toward circularity, or cycling between two or three ideas which serve as a backdrop for the main action which is expressed through technique. This quandary calls to mind the break between the third and fourth Pestilence albums: Testimony of the Ancients increased the technicality of each song, but this put more emphasis into technique of each riff and less into the riff itself, which caused the band to rely on anchored harmonic positions much as in rock and embellish those with fills, which created relatively static phrases and as a result, simplified songs. On the album that followed, Spheres, Pestilence attempted to correct this with more guitar/synth leads and riffier songs, both returning to their earliest work but still remaining stranded within the simple-core complex-surface approach that the outward-in method of using technique to compose creates.

What makes music great as opposed to passable or adequate for a few weeks’ listening is this ability to both reflect reality and give it meaning by showing a response to it that sings of its strengths and reveals purpose to its weaknesses. All songs are in actuality songs of praise for the existence which we lead, avoiding the reaction of the human being — a type of surface-level form instead of content — and looking toward the effects on our lives as they are. These can take the form of harsh criticism of that which is unrealistic, including methods of control like ideology and advertising, and can even indulge fantasy which is different from reality but reveals it through metaphor, but they rarely include the “Vote for me and all will be perfect forever!” and “This product will make you smart, sexy and successful!” that surface-level thinking promotes. Ara are caught forever between the two and are facing the mortal certainty of choice by which the individual goes down one path to the exclusion of all others, and thus defines their life as surely as death itself, and this buries their strengths among their least auspicious tendencies. While Devourer of Worlds shows vast improvement over 2013’s The Blessed Sleep, its tendencies toward what is called metalcore — which is either a hybrid of death metal and late hardcore, as I argue, or simply incompetent death metal as others have asserted — prevent it from reaching the heights possible for these songwriters.


Adam Bujny – Vocals
Jerry Hauppa – Guitars
James Becker – Bass/Vocals
Erik Stenglein – Drums

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60 thoughts on “Ara – Devourer of Worlds

  1. Ara says:

    We appreciate the review. In ways I found what was said in the review to be a parallel to what you heard on our record, in that the focus of the content lost me a few times before I could really grasp what you were saying. It makes sense, although as the composer I of course will disagree with a few points, but as with me having to digest this review over time, the album is definitely one where the themes of the songs will expose themselves over time. My favorite records are ones in which you can feel the identity of each song but still hear something new with each listen, and that is what I intended to do here. As for the Asphyx idea of “riff-gluing” I definitely take great lengths to make sure that each riff can only exist in the song it currently belongs to and speaks to each other accordingly, and while you were able to catch that the themes do expose themselves over the course of each song, I do not feel that form over substance is quite the case here. Such a thing is what I feel when I hear current albums from the aforementioned Deeds of Flesh, Conquering Dystopia or say Spawn of Possession, and while being respected for technique is fine I only care to be known as a good songwriter, and the goal of the band is to bring back the idea of the song to modern metal. That being said, I acknowledge that everyone hears music a different way and unless you look at a guitar neck as the song is played it may be difficult to hear how central themes are manipulated, and while it is fair to say we utilize contrasting tones to shock the listener, my goal is not really made with the listener in mind but to explore multiple colors of a few themes in each song as it progresses to make the songs interesting for me and the others in the band. It is up to the listener to determine if we succeeded in that, but clearly if we were intent on utilizing form over substance we could dazzle a crowd for cheap pops with breakdowns or endless sweeps to mask the inability to construct a unique melody. But thank you for taking the time to listen to the record. We are very happy with it and if it didn’t hit the marks for you or the readers here, it will surely resonate with others. Regardless of whether it does or not, we are very much making this music for ourselves, and the latter bit about marketing isn’t a factor in how we compose.

    1. fenrir says:

      The failures he refers to are probably not completely conscious; a particular way of thinking that influences your songwriting is a habit and part of who you are. I think the important thing continue down the path of learning and improving, actively. Studying master’s of music and their work seriously it what most helps. Despite what is said about great innovators looking ahead, all of them were first acquainted and intimately familiar with the greats. By the “greats” I do not mean knowing some songs off of Obscura or Altars of Madness, but knowing what underlies them an what is THEIR inspiration. Obscura’s nature is tough to pinpoint, but Lemay has a strong upbringing around classical music (he specially likes Shostakovich’s works for viola and other string instruments); Azagthoth was obsessed with Mozart and some internal aspects (idea, as opposed to surface) of Common Practice Period composition.

      1. Ara says:

        The Obscura sound came almost entirely from Hurdle. And I am open to criticism, but once again, please do not assume I am unfamiliar with history of things. I write what I write because of how a melody inspires me as a writer, not because I am actively trying to emulate artists from the past or present.

        1. Ara says:

          Also, after further digesting the review, I know the intent of Mr. Stevens is to try to pinpoint what causes music to sound like this through an elaborate tracing through history, and in the process the goal was to in a way discredit us from belonging to a sect of death metal. The review was as much written most likely to get myself to understand your perspective on death metal as it was to talk about what the album sounds like, and I’ve come to realize that the fundamental difference between our schools of thought may lie in what we feel creates “substance” in music. The main criticism is that style influences form, and I guess what I hear as substantial in metal is different than the readers here, which is totally fair, as people hear different things different ways. The primal aspects of the death metal that are championed here would not necessarily thrill me as a writer, which is why I haven’t chosen that as my personal creative path. What drives me as the element of substance is the raw melody and how it evolves throughout the song. So if I tab the song out and spit it back out as a midi file, if the bare melody sounds awesome to my ears aside from a wall of distortion and lyrics on top, I feel I have a good sense of substance created. We never set out to make a technical song, but rather an interesting one. But once again, this is in the eye of the beholder and any criticism is completely valid, which is why, Fenrir, I want to thank you for actually listening to the record before forming your opinion.
          One other idea I disagree with is that writing a song comes from 3 fundamental paths. I feel that songwriting is mathematics and math is infinite, so creativity in any sense, songwriting or not, should be boundless. There are common templates, sure, but limiting the idea of songwriting to 3 schools of thought discredits the author in a way. I feel that approaching this album objectively here may be difficult because it is a radical take on extreme metal and I can understand feeling like “why the fuck is this reviewed here,” but regardless of genre classification and all that stuff that gets in the way of objective reasoning, I would hope listeners could appreciate what the record succeeds at instead of creating a box of accepted ideas and hoping that it falls outside of those parameters. Songwriting critiques aside, if this shit grates on your nerves and is aurally unpalatable, that is easily a criticism I can most readily understand. Once again, thanks for taking the time with it.

          1. fenrir says:

            >Yes, the “sound” of Obscura came out of Hurdle. The organization came out of Lemay ;) You’re missing the point.

            You need more than inspiration too.
            >”The primal aspects of the death metal that are championed here would not necessarily thrill me as a writer, which is why I haven’t chosen that as my personal creative path.”

            Nobody asked you to. Take a look at the review and interview of Blinded by Faith from 2012 on this website. They have none of the superficial aspects readers of this website tend to like. What was lauded was their composition sense, within the limitations of their style…
            >”I feel that songwriting is mathematics and math is infinite, so creativity in any sense, songwriting or not, should be boundless. ”

            Boundless but not disorganized or random. This is precisely why I recommend you studying classical music. If you wanna go the “complicated” way of organizing music, you need reference from the best. As it is, you are apparently discovering everything by yourself a step at a time while the core aspect of your music really slows you down. (this is not about boxing, this is a very obvious characteristic)
            More than inspiration is needed. Knowledge and organized thought matter as much if not more than inspiration for GOOD music to be made. Inspiration gives you the spark. But it’s that: a spark, a starting point to work with.
            I think you really miss the point Brett Stevens make. The point is not to box you. That is only a routine procedure: to figure out what your overall way of doing things amounts to.
            >”What drives me as the element of substance is the raw melody and how it evolves throughout the song. So if I tab the song out and spit it back out as a midi file, if the bare melody sounds awesome to my ears aside from a wall of distortion and lyrics on top, I feel I have a good sense of substance created. We never set out to make a technical song, but rather an interesting one.”

            The main point is that your music, as much as I enjoyed it the fourth time around when I got over the core stuttering and cavemanish rhythms as I concentrated on your ideas for texture and some themes, amounts to “music about music” and not about anything else. The contrasts you introduce in it especially detract from any idea you could be forming and instead your music is about creating variety from the musical idea you have in mind -> self referential music.

            >”But once again, this is in the eye of the beholder and any criticism is completely valid”

            definitely all in the eye of the beholder, but not all criticism is MUSICALLY valid XD
            And not all beholders are equally capable of substantial criticism either. Let’s not play this “I am all for democracy” game.
            But thanks for trying to cut me some slack, haha


            Btw, I think it’s really nice that the songs are set up so that the album must be listened to as a whole. Frankly, even though this is not , in general, my type of music, I will continue to listen to yours

            1. Ara says:

              I have to go to work so I don’t currently have time to fully dissect this post, but in saying the music is about music and sefl-referential, your criticism seems to be rooted in your difficulties as a listener at connecting with the compositions and utilizing that as an objective stance at analyzing the music itself, which I don’t necessarily feel is an objective approach to things, as disorganized to you isn’t going to sound that way to others. For me, a record like The Sound of Perseverence is totally disorganized in that the riffs are great but none of the songs flow at all.. And I personally feel there is more stuff going on on this record that is akin to classical music than perhaps a lot of metal you guys love, Morbid Angel included. But more on this later, and thanks again for listening.

              1. fenrir says:

                “our criticism seems to be rooted in your difficulties as a listener at connecting with the compositions and utilizing that as an objective stance at analyzing the music itself,”

                Be more patient, I have no problem “connecting with the compositions”. I actually enjoy your album a lot at this point. I am, in fact, basing my negative observations on objective points. Objective points which have a root in things that can be felt in the music as well.

                Your own description of your music is the very definition of self-referential. Reread your own statement about how you build music. And I didn’t even need your description of your creative process, which only supported what some of us could make out from the music itself.

                And yes, there is some kinship to some technical preludes or etudes in your album. I was thinking of that yesterday. But often etudes are that: a study of musical technique, and nothing else.

                As it is, I still enjoy it. But learn to take good criticism.

              2. fenrir says:

                PS The sound of Perseverance is a terrible album at all levels except as a study of raw drum technique.

                Terrible guitar playing, terrible solos, terrible or just cute local-arrangement, terrible long-distance planning. Songs encased in fixed form and only filled with whatever came.

                1. Later Death — everything after Human — was blighted by Schuldiner wanting to be a progressive heavy metal band instead of a death metal band. I think I wrote at the time that he should just go ahead and have a heavy metal band, which he later did with Control Denied.

              3. Ara says:

                I think defiance in the face of criticism can be kind of unprofessional and I definitely don’t want to go the Winds of Genocide route, so I’m going to leave just a few more thoughts and then leave the record up to you guys.
                What I’ve learned here regarding death metal is that sound and note choice is not substance but composition is, so narrative is key to eliciting well thought out music, but a lot of the old school death metal compositions to my ears aren’t far from the first aforementioned template which mirrors the pop format. Another point of note is that narrative structure is dependent on the idea that all of the parts of the song have to reflect each other throughout the progression, which I feel strongly limits the framework of songwriting. I prefer that the MOOD of the song stays consistent and develops its character, but multiple paths and colors can guide you there and tell a more evocative story. Adventurous structure is what attracts me to metal, and stripping it down to me can only make it stagnant.

                Quick aside- as far as me once again “missing the point” in that while Obscura’s sound came from Hurdle yet was arranged by Lemay, you are claiming that the greatness of the record is rooted in the narrative structures, but I have to disagree- people aren’t going to view that album as groundbreaking because the narratives took you on unheard of paths but because they utilized sounds not heard within a death metal context at the time. The narrative aspects weren’t far off from what was heard on The Erosion of Sanity, yet Obscura is constantly referenced for a reason, thank you Mr. Hurdle.

                The idea that the music we present is disorganized or random isn’t the case, but that once again is dependent on the listener I suppose. Construction is so important to me that as you mentioned the record is meant to be listened to all at once, so compositional oversights such as piecemeal riffing are not part of the process. But in citing the “randomness” of the music to cheapen its value, you have to acknowledge that this type of songwriting has always existed in death metal and elsewhere. For every “Serpent-Headed Mask” you have a “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and for every “Vomit the Soul” you have a “Band on the Run.” Progressive songwriting, criticisms of the aforementioned songs aside, has always existed and isn’t a new idea used as a crutch by the modern metal scene. I miss look at “Piece of Time.” Compositionally that song is a fucking mess, but it rules and is unquestionably death metal. “God of Emptiness” is totally linear yet the mood is consistent. Mood and flow is what I feel unites our songs, regardless of the representation of individual parts.

                I feel that habitually people here find what they love in metal and look to the past to give it intellectual weight through referencing classical music and so on, when chances are it was created by a bunch of kids who didn’t know what they were doing fucking around in a garage. You may want your favorite shit to belong to something it doesn’t belong to in a positive way as much as you want Ara to belong to something it doesn’t belong to in a negative way. It’s all part of the process of creating faux-ownership of other people’s art through extensive study in order to give it and your own understanding meaning and history, when maybe the best approach is that perhaps some things just ARE. So with that, I invite those who will to just listen to the record as objectively as possible and hopefully find something worthwhile. Thanks again for your time.

                1. Another point of note is that narrative structure is dependent on the idea that all of the parts of the song have to reflect each other throughout the progression, which I feel strongly limits the framework of songwriting.

                  I think this is the crux of the disagreement.

                  Was Hurdle on From Wisdom to Hate? I vastly prefer Obscura (and wish it did not have such loud, clangy production).

                  1. Ara says:

                    He was not.

                  2. tiny midget says:

                    i’m glad i made it just in time so we can all kumbaya together.

                    brett, ara, fenrir let’s all hold hands now and skip towards the rainbow.

                  3. Deaf says:

                    No, Hurdle did not play on From Wisdom. The ideas of technique and playing that came to fruition on Obscura were already forming in the early 90s. Check this out for example:


                  4. fenrir says:

                    Yeah, he was not. Hurdle was all for improvisation and weird sound. But that’s what he contributes to the album, a certain unpredictability, which is then tied in a way similar to that of The Erosion of Sanity (that’s Lemay’s hand there).

                    The masses of idiots may praise this album for its weird surface, but what makes it great is the interaction of everything. After The Erosion of Sanity , they were more experienced in this sort of songwriting, which enabled wilder experiments while having an anchor. So no, it is not “THe SAME” as the Erosion of Sanity.

                2. fenrir says:

                  “people aren’t going to view that album as groundbreaking because the narratives took you on unheard of paths but because they utilized sounds not heard within a death metal context at the time”

                  “people” believe a lot of bullshit, so I don’t care what “people” think. I care about what IS. “People” also think Schuldiner was great.

                  “The idea that the music we present is disorganized or random isn’t the case, but that once again is dependent on the listener I suppose.”

                  I guess I have nothing else to say if that’s what you reduce my criticism to.

                  “You may want your favorite shit to belong to something it doesn’t belong to in a positive way as much as you want Ara to belong to something it doesn’t belong to in a negative way.”

                  You keep assuming i have sentimental and personal reasons to criticize your album.
                  I have none.
                  But since you keep going this way, I’m just going to assume that’s your problem. Thank you for showing me how fruitless it was to engage you at all.

                  Lesson learned.

                  1. fenrir says:

                    Btw, Ara, your intellectual incompetence and emotional fragility don’t affect the degree to which I enjoy your new album ;)

                    It’s staying in my playlist.

                    1. Ara says:

                      Once again, your claims to what IS are unfortunately rooted in opinion but packaged as fact. We are not going to be able to see eye to eye here, and in no way in this discussion did I display intellectual incompetence and I feel my input regarding your criticism is mature enough where emotional fragility was never on display either. It’s too bad you took this argument down an insulting path, because like this argument here, you’ve proven that civil argument on this forum is likewise fruitless to engage in.

                3. fenrir says:

                  “look at “Piece of Time.” Compositionally that song is a fucking mess, but it rules and is unquestionably death metal. “God of Emptiness” is totally linear yet the mood is consistent. Mood and flow is what I feel unites our songs, regardless of the representation of individual parts.

                  Agreed there. But you have yet to learn what they did in each case to tie it together.
                  They didn’t jump between styles as you are doing. :)

                  1. Ara says:

                    “Piece of Time” doesn’t jump between styles? Really? And they are guilty of repeatedly breaking one of the most basic composition rules in the song where everything stops and a new theme is introduced, which not only interrupts flow but gives the song a disjunct character better fit for multiple songs- one of the reasons Opeth continues to fail at songwriting.

                    1. fenrir says:

                      Opeth fails for many more reasons.

                    2. fenrir says:

                      Also, when you learn more about music philosophy and you take a look at the greats (as I suggested before, classical music) you realize that rules such as “introducing new themes suddenly and stopping the music” is not a rule set in stone.

                      Right now see that as a goal. It is rather something we can infer AFTER the fact of great compositions in general. The rule is not the goal, but a guideline that is advisable to follow. What is important is the ultimate result. Atheist create coherent and flowing music DESPITE what you describe as a “basic composition rule”.

                      Can we have coherent music that flows that breaks that rule? yes, we can, but how to do it? that is the question. The themes and new ideas in Piece of Mind are not introduced in the best of ways (they perfected this in their next album) but are not as random as they appear. There are other factors in the song that make them fit in appropriately without seeming as disruptive. Again, that album is still quite rustic and that technique was still not so efficient. Look at Unquestionable Presence for something better.

                      PS. you are not the only one around here studying composition, but composition and theory are just tools, if you guide yourself by that alone, you will not make the best music, only *functional* music. Such is the nature of “music without a purpose”. Try to find something to write express first. An IDEA. and make everything you write spawn from that. If you just have “nice melodies” and develop variations and “colors” from it, you can be sure you will only end up with a study in technique. Mental process and how think about things really affect the overall result.
                      Take a look at Condor’s music for an example of music born out of idea and excellent metal composition.

                      I don’t have time nor the willingness, nor the capacity (yet) to really explain things correctly, but you might direct yourself to the 19th century musical analysis of A.B. Marx (which is imbued with a sense for “spirit” rather than just pure theory, although he was a professor of composition as well) and the general art philosophy of Hegel, along with what Schopenhauer and Nietzsche have to say about it after that.

                      Any one else have more suggestions?

                    3. The sky is turning red
                      Return to power draws near
                      Fall into me, the sky’s crimson tears
                      Abolish the rules made of stone

                4. Richard Head says:

                  Good post Ara guy. I’ve been reading that back and forth with fenrir which ended poorly and that is his fault; too bad since he is a respectable poster. Anyway, I am on your side; much as I don’t care for your music, I respect you as a composer now. You understand sonic construction more than most commenters who are apparently not involved in crafting music and therefore can’t describe distinct elements of the compositions themselves. That was why fenrir appeared to be insisting that a subjective experience was factual and objective; you were both speaking on different levels; you more specifically referencing the musical quanta, him trying to relate the overall experience after the fact of composition.

                  Anyway, I encourage you (for what that’s worth) to not give up trying to have useful arguments. Your posts are most interesting.

                  1. Ara says:

                    Thanks- but is this the real Richard Head? The world may never know…
                    I’m not upset with Fenrir I suppose. He spent time with our record which I am quite grateful for. I just find difficulties with being accused of “not getting it” as opposed to “getting it but disagreeing with you.” I don’t lack the mental capacity to understand what is being said throughout the course of the argument. That being said, my insisting to continue to argue may at times come from a less than mature standpoint, admittedly.

                    1. Oftentimes “maturity” is over-rated…

                  2. fenrir says:

                    I did not insist that subjective experience was factual and objective…

                    That was the sole interpretation of Ara.

                    I insist that objectively music construction and what you refer to as “relating to the overall experience after the fact of composition” are two sides of the same coin, but they both need to be exercised.

                    also, I specified that when it comes to the overall experience, I ENJOY the flow and the composition attributes in terms of pure composition technique. So on the emotional side, this is a really fun album FOR ME.

                    On the other hand, OBJECTIVELY, I have to shoot this album down as purposeless beyond the exercise of creating music that is about nothing but itself. This is not about experience. It is a little complicated to explain, studying more helps. Yes, this lack of ability to explain does mean I do not dominate the topic enough to present the idea clearly.

                    1. Ara says:

                      “On the other hand, OBJECTIVELY, I have to shoot this album down as purposeless beyond the exercise of creating music that is about nothing but itself.”

                      That is NOT an objective statement. You do not know the inspiration behind how I create music, and this statement implies that the record could have been spat out by a robot. Once again, this is a statement made by someone that may enjoy the record but not be able to connect with it in the way the author does or intends an audience to hear. It’s an ignorant demeaning of a product based on personal experience upon hearing it rather than objective analysis. It’s not like I sit around with a guitar and hope for the best with no goal in mind. There is clear intent within the songs. I will look at those you cited as I am all for enhancing myself musically but I can’t agree with this criticism. If the music on the record was completely scalar and had no human essence to it, I would agree with you on it being a demonstration of technique over substance. I once again appreciate the time you put into the record, but I can’t abide by this analysis. And regarding the techniques used by Atheist and others, I think it may come down to the fact that you like when they do it and and not when others do. This is an issue where taste obscures objective reasoning.

                    2. It’s not like I sit around with a guitar and hope for the best with no goal in mind.

                      Just to clarify here what I think the other commentator means:

                      Some musicians dick around with their instruments, find a riff with some musical tension in it, and make a song around it.

                      Others start with purpose, like the writer of a poem, and dick around until they find a riff that sounds like what they want, then develop it — including all theoretical methods applicable — into a song on that topic.

                      These two reflect different cognitive directions. The first is outside-in, the second inside-out. Hope that clarifies.

                    3. Ara says:

                      In choosing a creative outlet and presenting it to an audience, I realize I am opening myself up for a deluge of criticism, which is fine. And a professional will take that criticism and learn from it or ignore it as he/she sees fit. However, this argument is no longer really about the music but more an argument about an argument about the music, so I’m gonna say the following and then wash my hands of the debate.

                      This statement- “On the other hand, OBJECTIVELY, I have to shoot this album down as purposeless beyond the exercise of creating music that is about nothing but itself.” bothered the shit out of me when I read it. It bothered the shit out of me at work, and it still bothers me. Given that I’m no stranger to criticism and feel I can handle myself in a mature manner, I had to think about WHY this got to me as opposed to the usual influx of fuck-off-faggot types of backlash. And what I determined was that you no longer are criticizing the music itself but the author, and here’s how.

                      In declaratively calling the music purposeless and purely self-referential, you are no longer citing your likes and dislikes about a product and your interpretations of it, but are stating that the creator fails at the most basic fundamental element of any artform in declaring a message, since in your opinion, there is none to give. Not only do you therefore speak on behalf of anyone who encounters the product through this idea by saying that no one could ascertain a message from the record, but on behalf of the author in claiming that I shat out some purposeless music for just the sake of doing so. And no one, myself included, likes to be spoken for.

                      In going beyond criticism about how the record makes you feel, making a statement like this posits yourself as being the authority of something you were entirely divorced from the creation of, and without knowing the inspiration behind such a product takes the criticism from a creator-to-audience level to a verbal pissing contest where you feel you could have adequately channeled the crux of the content in a better fashion without the fundamental basis for why it was culled to exist.

                      With this one sweeping generalization, you have not only effectively gutted the message of this album but derailed a near 20 year period of my own personal musical creativity in various other musical outlets. Being a songwriter is the principal facet of my persona and has been for a long time, and hearing from an outside source that the efforts therein were all fundamentally bankrupt is easily the most insulting statement I or any artist can hear. It is a brutal shunning of everything that goes into a creative process, and even if you were adorned with music degrees it would not be your statement to make.

                      As Brett says below a song should have a plan with careful development from an inside-out standpoint, and that is in fact how I write, and once again if you cannot hear that that is your experience with the music and yours alone. And while I will look into who you cited as sources on this subject, the advice you are giving in doing so in fact quashes inspiration rather then lends itself to it, in that what you are saying is “these are people who think like I do about art so study them and learn to think like them and then you’ll write music that showcases that you now think like me.” I’m happy thinking like me. I’m more than welcome to utilizing new techniques to harness what I create, but I’m not going to overthrow the foundational elements that cause me to create, since that would in itself create artistic fallacy.

                      I realize this debate (“my perspective is objective,” “no, it’s not”) is cyclical and pointless, so I’m going to verbally shake your hand for the spirited debate and call it a day, since continuing it will only cause us to impersonally dislike each other further, which I think we can both agree is fucking stupid given what are actually arguing about. I will say that I hope that as you continue to appreciate music or any other artform, that you evaluate what it means to you personally, as that is the only person you can speak on behalf of.

                    4. Have Ara ever considered releasing an old school style death metal song just for kicks?

                    5. Ara says:

                      Releasing an old school death metal song may be fun and not something I would rule out, but I imagine given the forced focus of that direction it could be hard not to reek of poseurdom.

                    6. Richard Head says:

                      I understood that both of you were looking at the album from different angles. Since I was communicating with Ara guy, I was using terms like that because I knew how he saw where you stood, but could only guess (inaccurately) at your perspective.

                    7. Ara says:

                      meant to say wouldn’t rule out regarding an old school death metal track.

  2. Phil says:

    I can’t for the life of me tell any of these kinds of bands apart. You know, those bands that make songs that sound like a car stopping and starting in traffic.

    Then you hear that twang and the song goes quiet for half a bar then chugs up and down for a while. What the fuck is going on in these songs?

    1. Ara says:

      Perhaps you would like more soothing tones in your metal. Would you like me to explain the songs to you?

      1. fenrir says:

        Very musical album, but also a lot of unnecessary stuttering.
        Get rid of those core sections which make the music sound like its stuck. It really interrupts the flow and obfuscates the music.
        What, it’s supposed to be like that? You want interruptions? there are better ways of doing it.
        That being said, there is some very nice work with textures and use of themes (although not extensively enough to be outstanding).

  3. Brahma Guru says:

    very wordy review for something that can be said in one sentence

    (c) brahma guru 2015

    1. Brahma Guru says:

      also, I don’t wanna sound gay or anything but the Ara guys are hot, I feel so hot in my pants now oh !

      (c) brahma guru 2015

      1. phal2phal guru says:

        Brahma guru imposter!

        (c) phal2phal guru 2069

      2. Ara says:

        Even I think the guy with dreads is dreamy.

    2. fenrir says:

      Then you weren’t paying attention to all that was being said.


    Mmh, so lemme go check what’s on TV tonight…

  5. Death metal Specialist says:

    oK to all faithful DMU readers and Brett Stephens:

    Here is a list of truly old school death metal gems that got forgotten not because they are not great but because they were underexposed. For instance Pavor was featured on Brett’s Oration of Disorder radio show. Listen to these bands and tell me they are undeserving of attention. I dare you !

    HAZAEL – THOR {1994}


    PAVOR – A Pale Debilitating Autumn {1994}

    1. Ara says:

      I bought Pavor-Furioso in 2003. If anyone knows what code they placed into the song “dilettante’s dilemma” please let me know.

      1. Deaf says:

        That’s actually something I want to know too, it’s like a minor itch I can never scratch (or haven’t yet).

  6. Robert says:

    God, this band is awful. I really wanted to like this album because I always root for the underdog but it just sounds like all these other technical metalcore bands out right now. This is definitely NOT death metal.

    1. Black Commentator says:

      The amount of emphasis being placed on rigid adherence to a descriptive categorization is unsophisticated and shallow.

    2. Ara says:

      Which bands would you say it sounds like?

  7. Erik Stenglein says:

    I have to agree with the reviewer that this is not really death metal. Ara is all about technical playing for the sake of being in a band and hopefully get laid.

    1. Ara says:

      Finally someone who gets it.

      1. Richard Head says:

        I’m all for frot guys. Erik I’m looking at you. Certain parts of your body anyways!

        1. Homoerotic Speed-death metalhead says:


          If any of those social justice whiners by any chance visit this site and read these comments, I’m sure there’s no way they can claim metal to be homophobic at all! Jeez man, this site it’s like a forum for homoerotic release !! WTF?

          1. Jim Nelson says:

            Frot is the only form of love making that is truly equal

            1. Ara says:

              False, unless both members are of exactly equal length. Composition of flesh here is the substance of equality far reaching beyond the overall appearance of the act itself, i.e. the breadth of male-male sexual gratification. You clearly just don’t get it.

              1. the real R says:

                ARA: which of the guys in the photo are you ?

                I’d like to know for “personal reasons”… (slowly unzips)

                1. Ara says:

                  I’m the hott one.

                  1. Adam Bujnyfrom Gaspar Minga says:

                    Is this Ara from the States or from Portugal ? I kinda get them confuzed ?The guy with dreads is that chick from Winds of Genocide isn’t she?

  8. Lyrics guy says:

    Can Ara guy post the lyrics to this album on their bandcamp or facebook page? Is it a concept album in any way?

    1. Lyrics guy says:

      Just noticed they were up on bandcamp. Never mind.

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