Arsis released their latest masterpiece, “Unwelcome” last week to the metal masses and it’s a record I can’t stop listening to! Having been a longtime fan of this band’s work, it truly sounds like the most complete Arsis album to date! The riffs are unrelenting, the solos are mind blowing, and the rhythm section is a non-stop assault on your senses from the first track to the last! Arsis has always been one of the most underrated bands in metal, but hopefully with such a solid record like “Unwelcome” out there, these guys will finally get the respect they deserve!
I was lucky enough to catch Arsis on their first show with Krisiun here in New York City, and after many beers and thrashing in the front row, I caught up with the guys for a brief interview that you can read below! They talk about the new record, touring, their newest members and more! Enjoy the chat below and go get “Unwelcome” today!
Metal Mark- Tonight was the first night of the new tour with Krisiun, how’d you feel about the show?
James Malone– Splendid.
Shawn Priest– Sick.
Noah Martin– Radical.
Brandon Ellis– Pretty damn good.
MM- Being the first show with the new record, where there any nerves before the set tonight?
JM– Yea, being the first show of the tour there are a little nerves inside, but you just gotta get over it. I feel, by the end of the tour, I’m usually a lot better than the beginning, but I think that’s how most bands are.
NM– Once you get the gears in motion, things go more smoothly, but I thought tonight went great for a first night!
MM- Not only is this the first date of the tour, but the new record, “Unwelcome”, came out this week as well! Now I have to ask about what you said in the press release James. Instead of saying it’s the heaviest or fastest record, like a lot of bands do, you said it’s the most sincere. What exactly did you mean by that?
JM– Yea a lot of people were kind of taken back by that, but I think it’s sincere on many levels. While writing the record, Noah and I never were really trying to write the fastest or most technical riff like we may have done in the past, we were just writing what we felt and enjoyed for the first time. With “We Are The Nightmare,” I was very focused on writing the craziest and most technical riffs that I could, you know melt faces as they say, and I think the songwriting kind of suffered because of that. With “Starve For The Devil,” it was the complete opposite. I wanted to make it the most “cock rock” thing out there (laughs). I still laugh at some of the parts I wrote. With this one, the songwriting was way more open and easy going for us.
NM– Yea I agree. The songwriting process for the record was way more relaxed and easy going than previous Arsis records. Once we got a lot of the parts together, Shawn came into the mix, and we knocked it out in about three months. After that Brandon came in and put some of the most ridiculous guitar parts of the music and it all came together really well.
MM- You mention the additions of Brandon and Shawn coming back into the mix. What have they brought to the table to help Arsis reach this new level?
NM– I think that having these two guys with us now drastically changed the chemistry in the band. From the songwriting to playing live, it’s just super fun to have these two on stage with us.
JM– For me, just knowing that Shawn was playing the drums on the record gave us the freedom to write whatever the hell we wanted to because we knew how talented he was behind the kit ya know. Nothing was ever too complicated or too difficult for him and that helped us a lot. He also helped a lot with arrangements too, which is crazy for a drummer, so that didn’t hurt either (laughs). When it comes to Brandon, I mean you saw him tonight, the kid is just stupid good. The stuff he comes up with is mind blowing and it really pushes me to make myself better, which is more than I could ever ask for from someone in our band.
MM- Exactly! So you’ve said already that it’s the most sincere record, but after hearing all of this, would you say that this is the most complete Arsis record ever too? In my opinion, it really is.
JM– I think so yea. I really do. It’s the closest thing to what I envisioned Arsis to be when we started out years ago ya know. I don’t think it’s that far off from our earliest stuff, but the maturity and musicianship is definitely a step up, so I couldn’t be more happy with it.
MM- Well you didn’t play it tonight, but I have to ask about the cover song on the record. “”Sunglasses at Night” by singer Corey Hart. Where the hell did that come from?
JM– Actually Noah had been wanting to cover that song for, I think, six years now, so uh why the hell not?
MM- Do you have a special memory with that song or what?
NM– (Laughs) No, I just thought it would be a cool cover. I don’t really know why, but it’s always stuck out to me and I’ve always felt it needed to be an Arsis song for some reason (laughs).
JM– Yea we were at the studio and he had the first riffs and parts written, and I couldn’t believe it (laughs). It was so badass ya know. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we think it turned out awesome. It was definitely Noah’s brainchild though for sure.
MM- What was your first impression when they told you that you would be covering a Corey Hart song?
BE– I was very skeptical to say the least (laughs). I mean after the mixed response to “cock rock” Arsis, they decide to cover this song out of all songs (laughs). I was pretty worried, but once I heard it, I knew that it was going to be something awesome and now I feel better about the whole thing.
SP– Yea I agree. They sent me like three cover options and the last once I expected them to choose was “Sunglasses At Night.” I think one was Pat Benatar, and for some reason that made more sense to me at the time (laughs). So I heard the beginning parts, threw some blasts over that, and it slowly came together in a pretty awesome way. I just wanted to make it insane as fuck and it came out way better than what I expected at least (laughs).
MM- Yea I think it’s fucking killer! I also like how you didn’t put it at the end of the record too, like most people do with covers. You threw it right in the middle and there ya go!
JM– Yea why not. Just own it (laughs).
NM– Go big or go home! (laughs)
MM- Will we ever hear that Pat Benatar cover?
JM– Maybe in the future! We’ll see! Why not?!
MM- Why not!? Well thank you guys for taking out the time after the show to speak with me. Do you have any final words you’d like to say to the fans?
JM– Logging off is a good euphemism for taking a shit. (laughs)
SP– I don’t even know how to follow that. (laughs)
NM– Come rage with us at the shows! We promise you’ll have a good time!
BE– “Unwelcome” is out now. Go pick up the record if you dig our stuff and come check us out on the road. We promise to put everything we have into every set and we want to see people raging in the crowd. So we hope to see you soon!