We immediately noticed that apparently either Arsis is not too popular, the show was not that widely publicized, that people had better things to do on a Tuesday night up there, or it was a dreary night out, because we got parking super close and were one of the like 30-40 people there. Now this was not a bad thing per se, because it was a nice intimate show. However, I think this low turnout may not warrant a return date int he future... (but then again I don't know about how all that works). Also tonight was Soilwork/Jeff Loomis/Bonded by Blood/Blackguard/Hatchet in Baltimore (if you missed the date at Empire in VA in March.), so that may have drawn people away too.
Merch table had several shirts (most were $15), an LP of the EP, the CD of that EP (both of which were free, with purchase or a donation I think they said), Starve for the Devil deluxe ($15) [the one Arsis album I have], and.... no new album. The merch guy and James Malone (the frontman) mentioned that they either dropped the ball or had some issue with ordering the album. So I was rather bummed about not being able to get it right there. Especially for the apparent first night on their tour (and album release show!)!
We got there as the last opener was finishing. They were alright, some death metal. Nothing particularly great, but they sounded very heavy. Not a bad start.
Arsis came on slightly later than advertized, to a pretty small crowd (tho not the smallest crowd I've seen at a show- that would be either Blackguard or Bang Tango (~14)). They had a soundcheck that included RATT (Lay it Down), Accept (Balls to the Wall), and Motley Crue (Live Wire). The one guitarist had a RATT shirt, and that reminded me of when I saw them open for Firewind at Jaxx... and they did some RATT licks to open up.
Arsis sounded very good, particularly the guitar solos. James's vocals were partially unintelligible but sounded clear (if that makes sense). Their energy was very good, but no one moshed (only slightly surprising, but the people seemed more ...laid back... at this show). There was something slightly off, maybe because it was the first night of the tour, combined with the low turnout and CD debacle- James looked a little nervous when his eyes scanned the crowd. There was also one rather intoxicated or the like gentleman who got IMO too close to the stage and even on it. I was not sure if he was harmless or if he was going to cause trouble. He was right.next.to.James at one point. Regardless of those points, I thought it was a very enjoyable show, and the band was rather tight. I heard the new songs for the first time, and that is always interesting, because typically the new stuff that they are touring on sounds better, and this was no exception.
Scott, the Arsis super fan, was probably the only one who had a chance to pick up the new album, and was def the most excited there. That was fun, and certainly got me a bit more excited- I wish I had had a chance to listen to some more of their stuff before today (damn meetings). After their set (which was a bit short... about 1 hr), they hung out at the merch booth. I got a photo and the ghetto setlist (cardboard) signed. They were really nice guys, I just wish they had the new album! (ordering on Amazon....)
My only regret is that I did not shout at them (so I could be 'that guy') to play 'Forced to Rock,' which I haven't heard them play since they opened for Firewind. I think that's because they have gone in a much darker and heavier direction than that relatively ....fun and not very deep song.
That one guy in Arsis loves RATT
Arsis and me (minus the drummer)
Arsis (10:39- 11:30ish)
- Handbook For The Recently Deceased
- Maddening Disdain
- Servants to the Night
- A Diamond For Disease
- We Are the Nightmare
- Six Coffins Wide
- Carve My Cross
- No One Lies to the Dead
- The Promise Of Never
- The Face Of My Innocence