[sic] Magazine

AristeiA – How To Kill A King EP

Oh, the perils of being a guitarist! I’m just one of around 643 billion axe-wielders around the world. As soon as I hear music with guitars in, my geek radar starts to go ‘ping’ and I begin analysing the sounds. With most epic instrumental guitar music there are several key elements that crop up again and again: minor keys, reverb, delay and dramatic shifts from plaintive arpeggios to furious riffing. There’s so much of it around, and so much writing about how there’s so much of it around, that to listen to and write about this stuff gets pretty tiresome.

I thought twice about actually writing this review. After all, I’ve received plenty of discs over the years that I haven’t felt compelled to write about, and plenty that I’ve resisted the urge to pan in print, but have refrained from doing so, simply because no band wants to read a bad review. Or do they?

If a band reads a bad review, I imagine the knee-jerk reaction is, “What the fuck does this guy know anyway?” Well, I’ve listened to enough instrumental guitar music over the years to assert that this EP by AristeiA is pretty unremarkable. If you’re into this style of music, you might like it. It has some merits, certainly. But it’s also pretty generic.

One thing I will say is that AristeiA certainly know how to write a song title. ‘Stairway To Heaven Part II: The Stampede Into Heaven’ and ‘Panda Vs. Satan’ are right up there as some of the best tongue-in-cheek song titles I’ve heard in a while. At least these guys have a sense of humour.

So why is the music so humourless? A clock chimes ominously, minor-key guitar lines ring out in a sea of reverb, and distorted guitars surge out of the speakers like sludge down a scorched hillside. Some of the unison guitar lines are pretty epic, almost metal-esque in their grandeur, but the bulk of the tunes are uninspired.

Admittedly, the band has bothered to muster some cute packaging. The EP comes in a cloth sleeve with some nice artwork and a badge. Maybe their best work is ahead of them, and they may well be a mighty live act, but for now I’m afraid AristeiA just sounds like another middling band lost in a sea of endless instrumental guitar music. Good luck guys.