Sadistic Metal Reviews mini-feature – Arreat Summit

A quick EP of melodic metalcore/techdeaf – Arreat Summit’s Frostburn definitely hits all the expected points of 2008’s darling fusion – high levels of technical proficiency, candy coated melody, constant breakdowns, haphazard composition, and so forth. Usually this sort of thing doesn’t even rise to the point of being worthy of discussion (and I did find the actual music went almost unnoticed as I listened), but in this case, it resonated with me how eerily similar this is to playing the video games in the Diablo series that inspired it.

A quick primer – The first two games in the series are surprisingly atmospheric titles, at least by the standards of their age. In fact, I would go as far as to say that much of their potency is a result of Matt Uelmen’s excellent soundtrack work; Diablo II in particular frequently demonstrates his ability to mix coherent thematic development into unsettling ambient soundscapes. Back when I was most thoroughly engrossed in the game (read: 2008), though, my attention was instead turned towards repetitively grinding the game’s bosses in the slim hope of locating a powerful item that would allow me to do so slightly more efficiently. That was a much shallower and less fulfilling experience, albeit a powerfully addictive one more capable of destroying productivity than heroin. When you remove the setting from Diablo, it turns the game into a series of tangentially related and nonsensical murders. Similarly, when you remove the ‘setting’ from metal music, you’re left with what is little more than a technical exercise.

In summary, Arreat Summit’s successful portrayal of the grinding postgame of the series (to the point that they are named after a valuable piece of treasure that has no real lore attached to it) is a dubious honor at best.

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7 thoughts on “Sadistic Metal Reviews mini-feature – Arreat Summit”

  1. vOddy says:

    This music is just annoying.
    It sounds like what I briefly listened to before I discovered better music… Like Trivium. It’s like In Flames, but worse.

    As for Diablo, I really liked it when I was 6 or so, because it was like a nightmare. But now, when I try to play it, I just get bored with the simple repetitive game play.
    It’s still atmospheric and all of that, but it’s all fluff and no crunch. All vitamins, no potatoes.

  2. Upstanding Black Person says:

    [quote]when you remove the ‘setting’ from metal music, you’re left with what is little more than a technical exercise.[/quote]

    Not so sure of this when applied to ‘metal’ at large. Didn’t Prozak (PUBH) spend his whole life arguing the opposite?

    1. vOddy says:

      If music doesn’t communicate anything, then it’s like a speech about nothing – no amount of great diction can make it interesting.
      It’s true for all music, not just metal.

      1. vOddy says:

        And by communication, I don’t mean lyrics. I mean the music itself expressing or describing some thing.

  3. dicks mccoy says:

    dark souls is better. make a listening experience as challenging as that i fucking dare you.

  4. Daniel Maarat says:

    Trivium is sadly better than these guys. It’s just mainstream rock but way less random.

    1. vOddy says:

      At their best, yes. But at their worst, they are kind of on this level with a similar style, in my opinion.
      I guess even at their worst they are slightly better than this. Not that I’ve kept up with them for the last 3 or so albums, so I don’t know what their worst is.

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