Arthemis - Live From Hell (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)

A greatest hits live set from some heavy Italians...
Release Date: 
25 May 2014 (All day)

Recorded live at last year’s Hard Rock Hell Festival in Wales, Live From Hell kicks off with longtime friend of MaF,  Krusher Joule,  barking the band’s name by way of introduction before the Italian metallians kick into the aggressive Scars on Scars from their 2010 album Heroes, It’s an excellent set opener, all you’d expect from  a band that promises dark metal with a thrashy edge, and the band attack the task in hand with vigour – especially vocalist Fabio D, who makes up for the fact that his range isn’t always what he wants it to be by the sheer vitality of his performance.

Second track Still Awake – culled from most recent studio album We Fight (2012) – is a great piece of thrash/power metal, and features some nice chuggy riffage from guitarist Andy and some great drumming from Kekko, who gives the track it’s thrash grounding with some superb legwork, all of which underpins some crazy bass playing from JT. It’s actually a bit of a treat to actually hear the bass on a live album, and JT impresses throughout.

Overall Arthemis have quite an ‘American’ sound to their power/thrash hybrid;  unusual amongst Euro acts of this ilk who are most often happy to take the likes of Helloween and Accept as their touchstone, Arthemis edge towards an Iced Earth style – though they never attain the heights of heaviness that Jon Schaffer and company trade in – with some big vocal melodies thrown into the mix. All these elements are pulled into sharp focus on excellent third track We Fight, a real, hands-in-the-air metal anthem that won’t fail to get crowds moving when the band ply their trade at festivals like Download and Wacken this (Northern) Summer. 

Home (also from the Heroes album) is less thrash, more traditional metal, with a superb melodic chorus and a great solo from Andy. Fabio puts in his most ambitious vocalising of the album here too, and there’s yet more fleet-fingered basswork from JT. I guess this is my long-winded way of saying this is the standout track on the album.

The pace picks up again on the jagged-riffed Electri-fire (from 2008’s Black Society), which has a real Pantera feel to its intro before reaching full speed on the pre-chorus. It’s one of the most full-on thrash moments  on the album, but once again the song packs a melodic punch come chorus time, when maybe – just maybe – some shouting or growling might just have forced the song’s point home a bit harder. Whatever, it’s still a fine song.

Empire (which opened up the We Fight album) is up next, treading a more recognisable Euro-power metal path, Fabio emoting tremendously on the chorus, while the band have at the song in the background in enthusiastic style. The lack of a rhythm guitarist sometimes means that a bit of momentum is lost whilst Andy solos- especially when he solos at length as here – and whilst JT picks up some of the slack that ‘dropping out’ of sound can be a bit irksome at times. It certainly is here.

7Days is more groovy, and probably a the least successful track on the album, sounding a bit like something from Skid Row’s disappointing Subhuman Race; It really doesn’t stand up against what’s gone before, so it’s up to Vortex (like 7Days, also from the Heroes album) to close proceedings and restore a bit of lustre to the album. It’s another blazing track with more great work from all four band members, leaving the listener wanting more, which can only be a good thing, right? I’m off now to explore the band’s studio output, because this live ‘greatest hits’ outing has given me a real taste for Arthemis!