Sometimes bands and promoters feel the need to cram their press-releases with ridiculous and nonsensical claims about being “counterculture mercenaries” who dish out “stomping alpha-wolf brutality”; how they are the “sonic equivalent of Christopher Nolan, David Fincher and John Carpenter making a Hammer Horror style movie together, set inside an insane asylum filled with desert dwelling hillbillies under siege by zombies” and the voice of a generation defined by the “invigorating catharsis of first person shooter and post-apocalyptic video game narratives”—and all this from “one of the elite breakout bands in the heavy music scene of the past decade” no less! Other times a press release will give you a simple history of the band in question, along with some general indication that they are likely to please “fans of, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah, Converge, Deftones [and] Architects”, which is far more effective and inviting.
While the Deftones influence and appeal is largely absent (and subtle at best), Sydney’s Arteries are very much an amalgamation of those other four points of reference. Their sound is primarily made up of the kind of bouncy, eight-string phrases you’d usually associate with the more recent djent and Sumeriancore movements. However, the jarring, break-neck rhythms they manage to mold those riffs into places them more firmly in the tradition of mathcore or any otherwise extreme and experimental take on the hardcore template. Occasional atmospherics and moody, post-hardcore pieces, such as early highlight “Prisoners”—whose climactic moments boast a strained build up and eventual release that (as a graduate of the mid-to-late 2000s Australian hardcore scene) I can only associate with Carpathian’s “Ceremony” and Isolation (2009)—bring to bear an emotional weight and freneticism usually absent from such fare, while the band’s underlying boldness and experimentation prevent them from being just another djenty mathcore act.
In fact, as much as Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan provide more immediate references—not least due to vocalist Brendan Dafter’s raspy screech, in the case of the former—those lesser sung heroes of Norma Jean perhaps provide a more substantial comparison, given the Sydney-siders’ inclination toward post-hardcore experimentation. Likewise, they perhaps more readily recall proto-Monuments/Tesseract outfit Fellsilent, or a more subdued incarnation of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, on the whole, than those aforementioned acts whose influence provides only a factor of what Arteries are all about. While much of their debut album, This Will Destroy Us, is “full speed ahead”, the album’s final moments hint in more ambitious directions—with the record’s final number, “Paper Castles” providing a largely subdued (until it isn’t), almost post-rock-leaning experience, in the vein of Converge’s “Jane Doe” and/or the more recent offering “Eve”.
This Will Destroy Us contains plenty more textures to uncover, but I’ll leave them for you to discover on your own. Anyway, you should have a pretty good idea whether this band are for you or not by now, but if any of that sounds appealing than I urge you dive in with open arms. For, as the press release claims: “If your poison is twisted and discordant breakdowns offset with groovy rhythms, then Arteries ha[ve] you covered!”