At first glance, Arisen From Nothing’s “Broken” has all of the warning signs. Lengthy band name? Check! American flag on the cover? Check! Unfortunate song titles? Check (“American Patriot”)! Yes, what we have here is something that is far too influenced by Pantera to be any good. While the legendary groove band may have had their own great moments, what they spawned consistently falls short.
In this case, the product is Arisen From Nothing, a 5-piece from Seattle. Their new EP, “Broken”, is the stereotypical tough guy metal sounding release. Of course, the mainstream’s tastes have hardened since Pantera broke through in the 1990s, so Arisen From Nothing’s vocalist's primary tone is quite a bit harsher than Phil Anselmo’s. Unfortunately, he falls just short of a death growl, landing at an awkward point between yelling and growling. In particular, he lacks the more guttural side. To make matters worse, there are moments on this EP where he tries to sing. This is yet another instance where mixing clean and harsh vocals just doesn’t work. The cleans in particular are incredibly weak and remind one more of Godsmack (or rather, what I imagine a band like Godsmack sounds like).
Arisen From Nothing seems to be trying so hard to both offend people and not offend people at the same time that it results in a very confused-sounding release. This primarily comes in the form of their lyrics and imagery, but the real problem is that they’re so inoffensive musically. They straddle so many lines without actually picking a style and committing to it (which really is a huge problem with any sort of groove metal, but that’s another discussion altogether). This EP would be 100 times better if they would thrash their brains out on one of these songs, or even if they added more shredding. “Better Off Dead” actually has a pretty good solo in it, but the band should just unleash their lead guitarist and let him go wild on every song.
“Broken” is a template of how to appeal to the people whose perception of metal doesn’t extend beyond Pantera. As a fan of thrash, however, it almost feels like an insult. It takes everything that is great about thrash and strips it away, leaving only half-baked riffs and the occasional aggressive moment. Arisen From Nothing obviously didn’t set out to be a thrash band, but they’re a great example of why groove metal is a fundamentally flawed subgenre. This EP might only be 20 minutes, but you’re better off listening to the first half of “Bonded By Blood” for the 1,000th time.
Be sure to check out and like Arisen From Nothing on Facebook (on second thought, maybe not...)
When it ends
2.0/5 or 40%.