To have a debut album that is a continuous stream of energy, power and aggression is a good omen for any band in today’s world of metal. In fact, one can only hope that the creative juices continue to flow not only for the success of the band, but for the enjoyment of their fans. Chicago’s arbogast is that band, and their debut album, simply titled I, is a non-stop tidal wave of raw energy.
Comprised of eleven hard-hitting tracks, I is a sonic onslaught from start to finish. The organ in the opening of “black with birds” creates an ominous mood, and begs to explode into “final throes”. And explode it does. The drums are massive and the bass is powerful. Guitars rip massive riffs, and screaming vocals echo the feeling of displacement in society. With tone and lyrical content of many thrash and punk songs one would expect short, violent bursts of energy but the hits keep coming. The crafting of arbogast’s songs is brilliant, continuously and repeatedly slamming their audience in the face with hard-hitting rhythms and driving guitar riffs.
While many of the songs on the first half of the album bleed into the next, the second half has recognizable breaks between songs. However, this is an album that should be heard as one strand of sound. The feeling of despair and disillusion is present throughout much of the album, but also present is the idea of perseverance and rising against those who put you down. The seamlessness of the album is impressive – be sure to expect melodic and thematic continuity.
It is obvious their influences draw from a wide spectrum of the metal community, and the sound they have created will be welcomed by many. With an overall prog-metal sound, fans of post-metal bands like Neurosis and Russian Circles, and more aggressive metal groups like Black Tusk and Baroness, will find common ground with arbogast’s I. It is a perfect blend of metal, punk, thrash, and ambient-noise rock. Do not count this band out, and do not miss this album.