Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Arghoslent - Galloping Through The Battle Ruins (1998)

Galloping Thorugh The Battle Ruins is the first full length by Virginia death metallers Arghoslent. The band formed in 1990 and released several demos in the '90s before recording and releasing Galloping in 1998. The line-up on this release features twin axemen Holocausto and Pogrom, bassist Kommando, drummer Alienchrist (formerly of Morbius (US), now plays in Grand Belial's Key) and vocalist Von Demonicus. Though mired in controversy for their lyrics and statements in interviews, Arghoslent is one of my personal favorite death metal bands and this album is but a prelude to the greatness they would go on to achieve on their following LPs, Incoriggible Bigotry and Hornets of the Pogrom

Of course, that's not to say that Galloping isn't great. From the album opener, "Defile The Angelic" to its 7+ minute closer "Transpolar Combat", Arghoslent deliver a punishing onslaught of brutal, yet melodic riffs and some of the most glorious soloing I have ever heard come from a death metal guitar duo. Kommando's basswork cuts right through the guitars and adds a significant amount of "punch" to the production. VD's vocals are deep and guttural and fit the tone of the record extremely well. My one problem with the sound of the album is Alienchrist's drumming. To me there's a certain "looseness" to the drums that would thankfully be corrected on their later releases. That being said, he actual drumwork is definitely up to snuff with the rest of the band's talent.

"Defile the Angelic" opens the record with a trademark Arghoslent style riff quickly met with the bellowing grunts of Von Demonicus and backed by the frenzied bass and drumwork. The "Banners Of Castile" follows with a more melodic sound, and is just as good as the previous song. "The Entity" is another great song, with a great riff at 2:00. The title track is next and is my favorite song on the album. The riff in the beginning is one of my favorite in all of metal, and makes you feel as if you are actually galloping through some war torn ruins on your way towards victory. Then again, at 2:14, another riff comes out of nowhere to smack you in the face with its greatness. The melody at 3:00 is one of the many reasons this band is near untouchable in the field of writing great, memorable songs. And those lyrics...

Headlong into the smoking ruin,
Armored artillery ride
Unexpected biological mean to cease the enemies' stride
Flesh burns...

Radiological waves
Biological strains
Death down from the skies

Armored artillery
Mechanized infantry
Air cavalry
Dead in their tracks, all have died

Another blast of melody opens up "The Imperial Clans" and the fantastic riffwork carries on throughout the entire song, especially at 2:06. Von Demonicus bellows out some seriously menacing vocals here, right around the middle where he lets loose with the chanting. "Ten Lost Tribes" is the only reason I did not rate this album higher. There's a great solo there and some good riffs here and there, but I often find myself skipping this on most listens. "Incursions" is next and is the album's instrumental track. The evilness of the riffing is so great here. Where do these riffs keep coming from? "Fall of the Melanic Breeds" is another great song, if a bit forgettable after the amazing "Incursions". "Rape Of A Slave" is yet another in a line of high quality death metal, featuring everything that makes a death metal song great: menacing riffs, memorable songwriting, and swift and punishing vocals delivered with pure hatred and venom. "Transpolar Combat" closes this pack of amazing songs. The feeling that you get from the music here is incredible. Arghoslent are the masters of channeling the emotion of the past in these songs.

Galloping Through The Battle Ruins is a death metal monument. Rarely has a band made such a statement with their debut as Arghoslent has. Not to mention that they would go on to release more, even better albums says a lot for the talent this band has for writing amazing death metal.

(Note: Yes, I know they are racist. Yes, I know they are very involved in the white power scene. I don't agree with their statements but I support a band's ability to say whatever they feel.)

Verdict: Epic Win [9.0/10] (fragile peons fell prey)

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