Ara – Jurisprudence (Self-Released)

Thursday, 14th May 2020
Rating: 8.5/10

As noted way back in our review of 2014’s Devourer of Worlds, Ara managed to do something that many technically-inclined bands could not: make intricate musicianship and songwriting mesh. They kept the heavy and brutal parts of death metal and they fused them with stellar writing that would still intrigue the tech-obsessed. While it’s been a long time coming, Ara manage to pull off the same impressive feat with Jurisprudence.

Still carrying the spirit of the best of the ‘90s brutal yet technical masters inside of them, Ara has a pleasantly chunky aspect to their sound. It’s got just enough of a grimy tone to it – something that’s augmented when they play at slower speeds (read: not blasting their way through a track). It never impairs the listener’s ability to make out the often complex riff-flexing the band is doing, but it gives it more life than your run of the mill tech-death act that is keeping the tone almost sterile in sound. The off-kilter riffing, such as on “Cytokine Storm,” will keep you on the edge of your seat while listening to it, and due to the strong songwriting, it never feels unnecessarily jagged or disconnected in tone. The soloing give the band a chance to introduce some more melodic elements at times too, which help to contrast against some of the more abrasive elements that ooze through the speakers. Lastly, due to all of these reasons, the band is able to pull off some longer tracks that seem to fly by as if they were only 3-4 minute ones. Something that really characterizes their strengths as an act.

Ara has just the right sense of fury and sophistication. Jurisprudence stays interesting due to the band grasping the heavy roots of what death metal is, while applying the intricacies that have been brought into the fold in more recent years. An impressive release.

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