The 2011 Arsies: January 13, 2011

January 13, 2011

As a special treat, today's Arsies is a trans-generational Bay Area grudge match, with thrash pioneers Forbidden and underground sludge heros High on Fire.
"Omega Wave" is Forbidden's fifth album, and their first in 13 years... and it shows (for good and for ill). Don't get me wrong: there is a lot of excellent old-school shredding throughout the entire album. If you're looking for or expecting a retread of old-school thrash (like you got from Exodus six years ago), you'll likely be pleased. It's not until a few tracks into the album that you start to hear a unique and more modern sound. (Songs like "Swine" and "Hopenosis" are the prime examples of this exciting fusion of old and new styles.) But instead of acting as a true transition, "Omega Wave" is more of a hedged bet. Sounds like Forbidden are caught between two decades of metal.
Then there's High on Fire. More simpleminded in their pursuits, and with no legacy to represent or protect, the band sets to work eagerly on "Snakes for the Divine." This album is the unapologetic bastard child of Motörhead and Tad, so if you're looking for tight and precise shredding... well, how about some ugly tone and bad attitude instead? It's not perfect, but it rocks. Highlights: the title track (catchy as hell) and, of course, "Bastard Samurai." Also, props for my favorite and most metal of metal album covers of the year. (Snakes! A fiery sky! A naked chick! Actually, I'm pretty sure I drew this in English class.) High on Fire, you rule.
Tomorrow: a complicated prog metal face-off between Ihsahn and Intronaut.

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