Though they’ve previously released an EP, a demo, and a 7″ collaboration with New Jersey’s A Fucking Elephant, I marks arbogast’s first LP. The eleven-track album is sweeping in scope as the ultimate metal Occupy manifesto in which the middle class stages a coup against the rich in a morally bankrupt country not unlike our own. Opening track “black with birds” is a dark and cinematic orchestral introduction you’d expect to see paired with opening credits and wide, panning shots leading up to the militant “final throes.” Tremolo guitars grapple with hard-hit drums as the battle rages on between the classes.
Each song sets a scene so effectively you’d think the concept album was meant for a film. At the least it would be easy to successfully adapt it as such. Wide ranges of metal subgenres and punk overtones are touched upon in effortless composition. Imagine the first half of this album as the type of kicked-up alt-metal poised to set the world on fire, with the latter half a swirling decline from the climax of “dethroned.” The track comes on like a frenetic battle to the death, its fighters kicking and screaming as arbogast works its way through “suffrage” and onto the rallying “will & destruction.” There’s a true thoughtfulness in the battle cry-style vocals that signify a powerful remorse. All eleven songs are evocative in some way.
All in all, arbogast has not only succeeded in making a whole-heartedly gripping album, but walks the fine line between conceptual overload and an effective show of musicianship. Vocals range from Motorhead grit to Against Me! tenderness with seriously tight guitars and powerful punches of drumming. While others might scoff at the now-tired concept of overthrowing all the greedy bastards, arbogast is busy reinventing the prescient protests that once made the 99% a collective voice to be reckoned with. Take heed and put on I the next time you’re planning a socio-economic revolution.