By Dr. Abner Mality

Don't know what is in Chicago's water, but it produces great bands of every stripe, from blues and soul to industrial and house music and of course, the heaviest of metal. There is also a thriving alternative scene there. Well, here's a hard-hitting alt-metal band coming from out of nowhere with a hook to your jaw like George Foreman circa 1975.

This is an almost picture-perfect merger of metallic heaviness with alternative quirkiness. Best thing about Arbogast is that they don't waste any time at all. There are no long, droning interludes or stretches of pure noise to interrupt the flow of hard riffing. This music is compact, concise and gets to the point right away. Of the 11 tracks here, all are gripping in their own way and no open minded metal fan could be displeased with the crunching attack of tunes like "Final Throes", "Unnamed Guns" and "The Victor, The Fallen". "Suffrage" even features some pure death metal riffing to start while "Dethroned" has some heavy duty sludge grooves.
Early Helmet, old Mastodon and even the angular weirdness of Voi Vod all appear as influences during the course of "I". The last two tracks ""Will and Destruction" and "Soulsfate" kick off with some jangling, almost country alternative licks before heavying up into some killer displays of iron-hard songcraft. This records hits hard all the way through, but with such variety that monotony never becomes an issue.

Lyrically, the band is full of acidic rage against corporate tyranny and the cover image of an endless field of dead birds is a stark classic. They really have all their ducks in a row. I'm hoping to hear much, much more from Arbogast.