Arsenico-Reign of Fear EP review by Mark J. FFO: Classic Hardcore/Crust/D-Beat.


Arsenico-Reign of Fear EP review by Mark J. FFO: Classic Hardcore/Crust/D-Beat.

A reasonably new (well 2022) D-beat/Hardcore Megaforce from Sydney. This debut EP or 7" is as solid as you would expect from the impressive experience contained in this band. And just because it has Dennis the Menace on Vox from Darkhorse, don't expect it to sound the same. I mean it's not a country and western band, but it explores different formats of searing aggression. This is like a perfect mix of blazing Sydney no bullshit hardcore like Toe to Toe/AVO etc meets the modern worship of Tragedy/From Ashes Rise/Aus Rotten/Disfear. And it works so well, all six tracks are wild and dominating. This is a truly killer release.

The opening track Forced Motherhood is raging like the topics it covers(lyrics as expected are awesomely aggressive and sociopolitically scathing as all should be), and the interplay between the Toe to Toe style harmonies mixed with a more crust metal style guitar is sensational. Like every track this is pure vitriol and intense rage. Suicide Me doesn't piss about either, straight for the jugular, amazingly explosive drums and dense bass attack really drives this into the heart of matters. But the Toe to Toe vibe is because classic TTT always had memorable hooks, and brilliant well thought out song structure and every release flowed. This as a whole EP does this confidently. The pronounced hardcore element balances out the crust/D-beat component so you get a perfect mix of raw punk, but the belligerent distortion of so many bands we all worship. All Went Too Well is like Subversion in a fistfight with Minute Minder, the brooding mood and tension are so fucking palpable in this. 3 songs in and you know already you have signed up for life with the Arsenico cult.

White Fears not only has the most abrasive lyrics but has wicked tempo changes and chunky basslines that could bring down buildings and it has so much going on, it's overwhelming. The riffs are brutal, the catchiness is wild and Dennis sounds like he has swallowed a beehive; all in the best way. To be trendy as well, it has the two-step shit all the trendy hardcore kids love as well, lol. Personally, I think it is fantastically moshtastic. The title track is also huge, mostly down to some immensely top-class guitarwork that was so fast, yet almost black metal at times- some serious skills across this band, like majorly. The secret element is the mix of genres, the tightness on every track, and how anthem-like every single track is. Widow Cleaner closes off this magnificent release with probably my fave track. This personifies everything you could possibly dig about hardcore, vocals that are aggro as hell but not boring, bass and drums that are completely warlike and guitar tone/style that is never predictable and wholly antagonistic. The problem with this release is that there are only six tracks and all are pretty short. Arsenico, stop being busy and record a full album, please.

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