Elay Arson - SPIRIT | DEATH
Released off label 2018
"SPIRIT | DEATH" is the continued evolution of synthwave and metal powerhouse that is Elay Arson. The Colorado Springs based duo began their eternal reign back in November of 2016 with the release of their first full length album "Bloodbath" which quickly garnered the favor of many electronic and metal enthusiasts. My personal introduction to the zesty project was with "Rites of the Damned", their eighty minute sophomore epic. I praised the album through and through and it scored a mighty eight out of ten from myself. Mind you, both of these albums physical cassette editions are now completely sold out.
Alas, now the year 2018 has come and with it Elay Arson is bringing a personal touch with their unique brand of synth-riddled metal hooks. Band member Daniel Larson has written that the album was inspired by the themes of Southwestern Native American stories, deities, subjugation, genocide, and the apocalypse while paying homage to his Apache ancestry and childhood Hopi upbringing.
While I am none too familiar with these stories, legends, and myths, two of my favorite songs on the album, 'Masauwu, Fire Keeper' and 'Masauwu, Skeleton Man', have short, spoken word lyrics describing the titular Spirit of Death, Masauwu. Not only that, but the slower pace and driving beat of the latter two songs was absoluting enduring. You could tell this was a song fused with Elay Arson's appreciation for black metal.
Guest appearances on the album come from fellow synthwave producers Carbon Killer and Ultraboss. Carbon Killer appears on 'Fifth World Gate' and you can tell that the extra oomph and power on the song was provided from Carbon Killer's precise synth production. Ultraboss appeared on the song 'Final Midnight Ride' who plays out an amazing an amazing electric guitar solo. I am not ashamed that I rewound the song twice just to listen to the guitar solo three times over.
The physical cassette is certainly a treat as well. It comes in a shell with a fully colored J-card that features further artwork, credits, and purplish theme that Elay Arson provided with the album. Both side A and side B of the cassette also feature fantastic works, with one side being dark purple with a skull hit by three arrows, and the other a lighter theme featuring the band's name as well as the cut off cover art of the album. Though the cassette is small, it is mighty.
Elay Arson has released another masterful album of epic and inspirational metal aspects and a full on electronic wild ride through fantastic stories. The guest appearances were meaningful and added to the album without ever draining from the overall intent. That, as well as an awesome physical product, and "SPIRIT | DEATH" manages to be one of the finest releases of this current year.
There are only nine cassettes remaining out of the fifty put into the world, so claim yours soon before they're gone forever.
May 17 2018
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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