Imagine inconceivable, unadulterated anger meshed into a jam-packed CD. You pop the CD into your car and scream along to the songs as you begin to headbang in your car driving down the street to get some milk. Or imagine your first death metal CD that you got as a child; you got a little cassette of Cannibal Corpse’s Tomb of the Mutilated, and you crank that shit into your Walkman and you feel like you could take a telephone pole and swing it around the city. With time, this feeling becomes labeled as “old-school,” because it’s raw, under-produced, but it’s devastatingly heavy in all the right ways. Fast-forward to 2020 and you have a band that’s going to bring that feeling back into your ears, whether it’s in the form of a CD in your car, blasting it on a streaming service, or even pulling out the old record player and slapping that vinyl. Ara are not new to the old-school death metal sound and they’re not afraid to show that they’re here to bring it back to fruition.
“Jurisprudence” has everything that old-school metal fans are looking for in a CD. If anyone’s tired of bands sounding over-produced or things being too clean, allow this record to be the wet-dream of your life. The sound of the guitars sound absolutely muddy and dripping with blood, ready to slash throats and decapitate heads at the stake. The drums and bass are gushing with oozing vibrance that saturate the sound of the music; and don’t even get me started on the vocals. The sounds of the void exit the mouth of Adam Bujny, demons defiled and clawing to escape this man’s mouth yet they only utter screams of impudence. Bassist James Becker’s tone absolutely shines through in this regard, really bringing the sound of chains as though meant to weigh the listener down into the dark waters of death metal. Jerry Hauppa (rhythm/lead guitarist) and Erik Stenglein (drummer/lead guitarist) bring a uniquely authentic sound into the mix, truly blending sludgey tones with pummeling double-bass parts.
The most unique thing about “Jurisprudence” is the fact that it maintains the old-school sound (chromatic tremolo picking, evil dissonant chords) but throws in some modern-metal twists into the mix. The ability to accurate depict original death metal sound in the 21st century is endlessly impressive, as it doesn’t aim to sound bad but purposely makes everything sound like it’s covered in grime. This isn’t to say that the production is bad, however; everything can be clearly heard when listening closely. The bass drum and snare are tight and thick, the guitars are glistening with corruption, and the bass absolutely brings itself to the forefront of the charge. Songs like the title-track and “Abhortion” bring out the true feeling like you’re back in the 90’s; if you close your eyes, you can smell the beer while running in the mosh pit. Those looking for newer sounds can look no further than songs like “Ashen” and “Etymologicide,” incorporating the greatest aspects of metal into two gut-punching tracks.
Overall, this shit bumps. Crank that shit to 11 and start a mosh pit in your living room with your grandma.
FFO: Cryptopsy, Gorguts, Deeds of Flesh