Inspired by GroverXIII of TNOTB’s series of posts regarding nu-metal, Heavy Blog Is Heavy will be counting down the top five reasons why the genre of deathcore isn’t totally full of shit. Check back every day this week at 3 PM EST for cannon fodder for your flame wars. If you want to throw in your two cents and call me out on missing out a gem that this genre has to offer, mouth off in the comment section. Enjoy!
Arsonists Get All The Girls certainly put themselves on the map last year when they released their third album Portals. The music found on this album can be best described as experimental deathcore, infusing their deathcore sound with melodies, synth lines, and groovy riffs that match the aesthetic the album art and title implies, as well as expanding on their progressive influences on songwriting and genre experimentation that the band touched on in the past.
Portals sees the band becoming more serious musicians with a more focused direction that the music follows. A lot of AGATG fans were worried about how this album was going to turn out, what with the band losing FIVE MEMBERS since 2007’s The Game Of Life. Luckily, the band persevered through this would-be crippling experience and produced their greatest effort to date. Portals proves that the genre of deathcore can be smart, interesting, and just a bit silly at the same time.
The keyboards here play a vital part in the band’s sound, being just as important as guitar and almost constantly providing layers, textures, and melodies, and it gives the music a unique sound. Technical prog-metal riffs and time signature shifts find their way into the mixture at times as well as cues from contemporaries Between The Buried And Me and their heroes Faith No More and Mr. Bungle by breaking up the metal with bouts of southern/blues rock (“To Playact In Static”), ska (“I Lost My Loss Of Ruin”), and even a hilarious classic video game soundtrack inspired breakdown (“Tea Time Tibbons”). Breakdowns aren’t obnoxious, as creative synth textures and catchy grooves and gang vocals lend to some dynamic. The album also features a ballad of sorts in memory of fallen brother, ex-bassist Patrick Mason on the most melodic song of the album, “In The Empyreans.”
I’ve written about Portals before, putting it as my 3rd favorite album of last year and for The Number Of The Blog’s Criminally Ignored column. I loved the album so much, I bought a physical copy. On the front wrapping there was a sticker that claimed the album was “a genre bending masterpiece for fans of Between The Buried And Me, Mr. Bungle and The Dillinger Escape Plan.” This is the truest statement I’ve ever seen on one of those stickers. I still think this album is overlooked, but it’s no wonder with an off-putting name like Arsonists Get All The Girls. Silly name aside, Arsonists are a prime example of why deathcore isn’t total shit.
Here’s their video for the song “42nd Ego,” which is one of the more straightforward songs on the album. It doesn’t do the album justice, but I work with what they give me.