To put it broadly, ArseA is an Italian metal band. On their Facebook page they list both “progressive” and “power” metal as genres they partake in. Their first album, A New Dawn, came out in 2015. It is a forty-eight-minute progressive metal romp that features a variety of neat little elements and hooks dripped in appropriate place to jazz up the music.
ArseA is not an ultra-heavy, scream-until-my-throat bleeds band. Rather, they resemble old school metal. Think thrash with aspects of other genres tied in. Moreover, their music would not overburden the casual listener, yet it is filled with enough sweet little riffs and fills to keep a metalhead’s attention.
I tested them out on my mother, who prefers show tunes and country. She enjoyed them well enough, for being something that far outside of her tastes. Personally, I think their sound fits into a tight niche of “heavy-enough-but-not-too-heavy”, which in my opinion, means their music should be accessible to a large audience.
I really like ArseA’s mix. I think their approach to metal is different, but familiar enough so it isn’t completely brand new. By this, I mean their music is thoroughly twisted and sculpted the way they want it, yet it isn’t bizarre and experimental.
This is in part accomplished by front man Matteo Peluff’s unique set of pipes. Matt Storm, as his Instagram account says, does not have a gruff or throaty voice. Instead, his voice is higher and soaring. It is similar to Rob Halford of Judas Priest, in this respect. Even though there is a similarity between these two, Matt has his own vocal style. At times, they feel opera-like as he zips far above the rest of the music. Other times, he is in the thick of a verse, chugging away.
The rest of the music is, in my opinion, a good example of progressive metal. The band incorporates enough “other” instruments, outside of the traditional set found in a heavy metal band. Specifically, they slid cute little string and piano hooks in amongst their breakdowns and verses. This, of course, adds another layer to the music and gives it more texture. In short, a wider variety of instruments allow the band more tools to tell their story with.
Being three years old, A New Dawn is a little on the old side. This certainly does not mean it is a bad album. I enjoyed listening to the elaborate instrumental sections. Overall, the album is a fun introduction to the band. One of the best things A New Dawn does is leave me wanting more. I don’t mean the album is incomplete in any way, rather, I just would like to hear more music from a good band.
Songs Worth Investigating
A New Dawn is filled with good songs. Overall, there are nine tracks on the album. The first song, “Awakening”, is really just an introduction, that serves as a fantastic delivery vehicle for the first proper track: “VIII”. Also, “Behind” is a slow instrumental that scatters Spanish guitar through its runtime.
As far as “real” songs go, “Out of My Mind” is a good place to start. This song is a little on the slower side until it climaxes into a tight guitar solo. Throughout the tune, tension is slowly built as the band progresses toward the lengthy instrumental section of the song. Given my academic interests and fascination with speculative fiction, I enjoyed “Quantum Society”. This song is about waking up to the problems of our society and world, wrapped inside a delightful coating of riffs and the cadence of Riccardo Curti’s double bass pedal.