Ara is a Milwaukee based death metal band, coming together around 2012, after they all wanted a more aggressive outlet. All the members have been playing around the Milwaukee metal scene for some 12 years. So, although Ara may be a new incarnation, the members themselves have been making metal for some years. This is their first offering in EP form having been self released in early 2013.
Metal genres and especially the death metal label seems to really galvanize passionate fans as to what is and isn’t death metal. Now throw in the word technical or progressive and it really starts to break down, so I am going to leave labels and descriptors of that such aside for now and focus on the music itself. It is very good, fast, brutal, and in your face, all characteristics of good extreme metal. The overall sound reminds me of bands like Obscura and All Shall Perish in their overall feel and how they attack a sound. There are remnants of Autopsy, Vader, and Grave in there as well. It’s a nice culmination of those bands and more without navigating into the those dreaded waters known as worship. These lads have not taken an Obituary recipe and followed it, they have created their own unique style and flair.
The title track, ‘The Blessed Sleep’, is really a standout track and is a showcase to their respective abilities. About halfway through their is a really cool almost jazzy bass solo with some creative drumming to fill in the gaps. It was tastefully included and in no way detracts from the song as a whole. The fret work and vocals on this show passion and flair as well. If one wanted to get a sense of Ara this is the place to start. Contrast that to ‘Despair Personified’ or Entitled Ascension’ where both are a tad more traditional in the sense of pounding riffs, deep growls, the kind of approach that motivates one to throw television sets out of hotel windows. These two tracks have some nice progressive elements as well, so calling them more “traditional” may be misnomer but its the feeling I personally get.
All in all, Ara have released a nice slab of brutal metal, label it and call it what you will, for me its great extreme music. This is truly one of best parts of this gig, getting to listen to bands that I would otherwise have never heard. These guys deserve a listen, I suspect that you like me will be impressed with this self release, and if this is what they deliver on an EP I for one cant wait until their full length LP comes out. Let’s hope they are hold up in their practice space in Milwaukee adding more songs to their future LP.