Formed in 1999 by guitarist Andrea Martongelli, Arthemis are an Italian heavy/thrash metal band and are about to release their seventh album, We Fight, through fledgling record label Off Yer Rocka Recordings.
I was first introduced to Arthemis nearly 2 ½ years ago on the sun kissed island of Ibiza at the first Hard Rock Hell Ibiza Road Trip, where they played possibly the best unplugged set I’ve ever seen (check out the YouTube vids when you can, you won’t regret it!!) and two brilliant full electric sets, so I was well chuffed when I was offered the chance to review this new album.
Choosing to open the album with instrumental track Apocalyptic Nightmare is a winning idea for me. It beats the usual cheesy intro as has become the fashion in metal just now, I just wish Arthemis hadn’t played it quite so safe and done something with a bit more edge and clout to it.
Opening track Empire immediately rectifies this. It is classic Arthemis with its galloping guitar work and powerful vocal performance, along with tracks like Blood Of Generations and Cry For Freedom it is metal made to make you smile as much as it makes you bang your head and stamp your feet. Andrea’s solo’s are face melting and stand among some of the best I’ve ever heard in the genre.
It is easy to see why title track We Fight was chosen to be the first single off of this release. It is a call to arms for all the “Arthemis Addicts”. All 4 members of the band seem to have really gelled together well here giving the sort of performance that has won them fans across the globe.
It’s not all grinding metal here, Arthemis are much more than that and really show it on this album. Burning Star (an image that has become like a mascot for the band recently) makes a strong case for being the next single with the big sound of its strong riffs, scorching solo, commanding vocal and driving drums.
If you’re going to call a song on your album Metal Hammer it’s quite a statement, as everyone’s first thought is going to be the widely respected magazine. If Arthemis were worried about this, it doesn’t show. The song has a more old school Anvil vibe about it with its hammering drums and bluesy guitar sound and shows the dexterity of the band in full flight. It definitely doesn’t let it’s name sake down. (Hmmmm how long until some one records a song called PlanetMosh???)
We are also shown a softer side to the band, with songs like Alone (a beautifully powerful and soulful ballad about lost love that everyone will be able to relate to) and Man Who Killed the Sun (a song that builds from the introduction with a slower yet pulsating track) that allow Fabio to show the incredible vocal talent he has.
The metal returns with a vengeance to finish the album. Reign of Terror and Still Awake are fast, heavy, full bore, thrash songs that continue to make excellent use of Andreas finger dexterity on the fret board. Either one of these songs could well become a crowd favourite when played live.
Overall, this album is crammed full of melting riffs, catchy hooks, shredding solos and soaring vocals, all backed up by the driving rhythm of the drums and bass. It isn’t thrash in the Slayer/Exodus vein but it more than gives the big 4 a run for their money. With nods towards power/battle metal (though not enough to be off putting) We Fight touches a lot of bases which makes repeated plays very easy as it doesn’t get repetitive like so many albums can be.
The real beauty of this album is how the songs are arranged on the album. It is a rollercoaster taking you up and down and through twists and turns.
All things considered I’m going to be awarding Arthemis – We Fight 8.5/10.
The band have promised to be out on the road again soon, so keep your eyes peeled to the links below for more information.
We Fight is available through Off Yer Rocka Recordings on 27th of August
1 – Apocalyptic Nightmare
2 – Empire
3 – We Fight
4 – Blood of Generations
5 – Burning Star
6 – Cry for Freedom
7 – Alone
8 – Reign of Terror
9 – Still Awake
10 – The Man Who Killed The Sun
11 – Metal Hammer
Fabio D – Vocals
Andrea – Guitars, Vocals
Damian – Bass, Vocals
Paul Grinder – Drums