Album Review: Arsonists Get All the Girls - 'Motherland'

20 May 2011 | 11:47 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A surprising solid release.

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The picture is starting to become clearer. The order becoming more accurate. The praise (and for that matter, ire) more justified. To use a well-worn sporting phrase, 2011 is sorting out the contenders from the pretenders. At least in a relevant musical sense. The appeal of 'whatever-core' bands content with showing no attempts at innovation has evaporated. It's now a pretty simple and fundamental scenario we are left with. While it may not always succeed, if you attempt to challenge the listeners, create something bold or at least try and offer something fresh the interest and recognition is there. Take the opposite route and the shortcomings are paramount and crippling.

Arsonists Get All the Girls are one of those in-between, 'are they good/are they bad?' type of bands. A cursory look at their band name alone suggests that this Californian sextet take themselves seriously enough to draw intrigue but not serious enough to adopt some contrived, purist approach. Fair enough too. While we have seen some similar heavy outfits try and inevitably come up short in their endeavours so far, Emmure, Winds of Plague, Dr. Acula, AGATG now offer their response.

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Fortunately, AGATG on studio album number four entitled 'Motherland' create enough variety to justify a sustained and considered listen. 'Dr Teeth' seems to support these assertions. It might be a little commonplace for deathcore to merge with electronic elements these days but the track is symbolic of the band itself. Yes, it might not sound different to a myriad of other groups but it just comes across as solid and sincere. 'Avdotya' is another decent track, with some heavier vocals and slightly twisted sampled melody. Opener, 'Rise to Fall' plays a little safe to begin with but is nevertheless forthright and straight-up heavy. 'It Was a Memoir' and 'West Cliffs' make up the instrumental tracks, with the latter quite impressive and in its own way different while 'Will Someone Please Turn Down the Ocean' has an interesting little egyptian based breakdown.

With some personal hardships behind the band, AGATG can finally focus on pushing forward…and 'Motherland' seems the perfect start.

Call it endearing, call it a guilty pleasure, there's just something subtly different and strangely enjoyable that makes 'Motherland' a focused and interesting listen. It just changes enough to separate AGATG from the rest of the current indifferent bands. Have a listen and then decide as opposed to judging well beforehand.

1. Rise to Fall

2. Neck to Contrast

3. Gooseknuckle

4. It Was A Memoir

5. Dr. Teeth

6. Avdotya

7. Waiting for the War to Die

8. West Cliffs

9. Hemlock Like This

10. Woebegone

11. Our Super Symmetry

12. Will Someone Please Turn Down The Ocean?

13. Tempest