Arise [Metal]

The Reckoning

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How's this for irony? There has been a gospel group called Arise, and there has also been a Swedish extreme metal band called Arise. Of course, it is certainly possible to combine metal with Christian-oriented lyrics; plenty of Christian metal bands have done it. But Sweden's Arise are no Christian metal band; the front cover of their fourth full-length album, The Reckoning, depicts a female demon who is very Satanic-looking. However, the lyrics on this 2007 recording aren't really Occult-oriented; actually, the Swedes' lyrics are closer to the cathartic, I'm-angry-as-hell rants of metalcore and hardcore than the Occult obsessions that are so common in death metal and black metal. The Reckoning is not easy to categorize; there is no question that it is a metal album, but what type of metal specifically? This 41-minute CD is probably best described a mixture of death metal, thrash metal, and metalcore, with hints of black metal at times. Lead singer Patrik Skoglöw favors an abrasive vocal style that is more metalcore than anything, although black metal's rasp has affected his singing as well. The Reckoning is an incredibly thrashy album; it isn't hard to imagine scorching tracks like "Blindead," "Pitch Black," and "Adrenaline Rush" sending a mosh pit into overdrive. But for all its vicious, corrosive intensity, The Reckoning is relatively melodic on the whole -- certainly more melodic than many of the extreme metal discs that have come from Scandinavia -- and it is evident that Arise actually put some thought into the songwriting instead of simply engaging in brutality for the sake of brutality. Although not a five-star masterpiece, The Reckoning is a solid and well-executed demonstration of what these Nordic metalheads have to offer.

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