Djent is the new buzzword in metal and Sydney’s Arteries have taken it to the next level. Ludicrous time signatures, crushing vocals, down-tuned guitars, drums tighter than tupperware and bass so thick you could spoon feed it to a rhino all combine in four gloriously entertaining tracks on their debut self-titled EP.
Think of a blend of the best bits of Meshuggah, letlive., Dillinger Escape Plan and August Burns Red and that’s Arteries in a nutshell. In all seriousness, this is one of the most impressive debut EPs I’ve ever heard. It’s long and balanced enough to impart a memorable impact (that’s what she said), but it also showcases an understanding of the virtues of brevity. Case in point: opener “Raise the Gates” is 56 seconds of utter brutality. There is literally no easing in at all. The EP’s first instinct is to smash you around the face, and you’ll beg for more, because you’re its bitch now.
The rest of the EP is more extensive and Arteries explore a bit more territory with their music. “Like Clockwork” is a ripper with an intro that would make The Chariot blush. It quickly settles into a groove/breakdown combo that culminates in a massive post-hardcore sing-along. In a style of music known for lack of ingenuity and creativity, this simple act of blending some traditionally incompatible musical styles lends a new dynamic to the EP by creating a contrasting style to opening skull-crusher “Raise the Gates”.
The other two songs are incredible as well. Finale “In Vicious Circles” follows in much the same vein as “Like Clockwork”, with a more logical song progression, more accessible composition and a sweet guitar solo. “Cygnus”, on the other hand, is a sneaky little bastard. It’s an incredibly well-constructed song that is deceptively complex. The high point on the EP, “Cygnus” is the song that is designed to break you. At first, it seems fairly straightforward. Then you realise that the beat you were tapping along to isn’t there anymore and damned if you know where it’s gone. This whole song is comprised of subtle tempo changes that stagger you like a rabbit punch, and it’s brilliant.
Ultimately, this is not an easily digestible record. It’s designed to break you and make you pay attention for once in your life, damn it. It’s fast, it’s heavy, it’s diverse, it’s got a great mix and most importantly, the composition is intelligent. It’s not math for math’s sake, and Arteries clearly understand that a great 50-second song is always a better choice than a crappy five-minute song. The only weakness is that its runtime is affected by this brevity, clocking in at just over 12 minutes; but honestly, if you want to experience this EP in a slightly superior format, make a playlist with this EP and their two singles “Toecutter” and “Memento”, which you can download for free here.
You totally should, too. They’re the absolute tits.