4ARM ~ Submission For Liberty
Label: Rising Records
Release date: February 6, 2012
Last summer I received a package from Melbourne, Australian based thrashers 4ARM and it quickly became one of my favorite summer releases. I set it aside to do a full article on the band and somehow it got lost in the shuffle. Now some six months later, the wise men over at Rising Records have picked up the band’s Submission For Liberty for a February release. Well deserved, and long overdue.
Submission For Liberty is the band’s third full length, but arguably its best, and most aggressive to date. Led by the throat and crunching guitar of Danny Tomb, along with skins crusher Michael Vafiotis, bassist Andy Hinterreiter and lead guitarist Johnny Glovasa, 4ARM bring brutal energy and intelligent imagery to the battlefield of thrash. The band tapped Matt Hyde (Machine Head, Slipknot, Trivium) to mix the album.
The record kicks off with a haunting piano piece, “Sinn Macht Frie” that is overlaid by portions of Charlie Chaplin’s speech from the movie, The Great Dictator. “…and so long as men die, liberty will never perish…”. A brilliant opening salvo by the quartet.
This breaks into the album’s longest track, the blistering “While I Lie Awake”. A lyrical treatise on the ambivalence and narcissism of mankind. The track begins with a slow-rolling sonic preparation for battle, and then as the tension builds the band begins its charge about a minute in. The attack is merciless.
The ferocity continues, and in fact picks up, on the rib-cracking, “Raise A Fist”. Vafiotis gets simply unhinged behind the kit on this one. The song seethes with anger and frustration.
That feeling of rage is a dominant factor throughout the album’s 10 crushing tracks. The title track is a beast which encapsulates all the bitterness and fury the band is unleashing.
The pace finally slows, but only marginally, for “The Oppressed”. A track about bringing war mongers and dictators to ruin.
The pummeling continues anew, on the defiant and almost hardcore-tinged, “I Will Not Bow”. This segues into the foreboding intro to “Taken Down”, which offers just a brief respite before the cacophony rains down. There really isn’t much of a let up in the caustic aggression on this record. It’s invigorating, yet draining. If I had a complaint here, it would be that the band needs a touch more variance spread throughout the album. Still, it’s a small grievance.
By the time the album winds down to the seven-minute closer, “Blood Of Martyrs”, your body and mind are absolutely aching for it. This track is full of melody and mid-tempo groove. That may be why it is one of my preferred tracks on the record. It’s dark and moody, and a nice change in flow.
Thrash music in general felt quite an uprising and resurgence in 2011. 4ARM was a quiet part of that. This year, with their third album going global, they could be a huge part of 2012. 4ARM‘s brand of thrash is pretty straight forward, at times menacing, and almost always rocketing along at breakneck speed. Submission For Liberty is staunchly aggressive, full of unchained rage, and packed with thick rhythms and tasty solos, and abundant shredfests. Murderously powerful, this is the band’s calling card to the world. The only con, as mentioned above, is sometimes the band’s momentum can make the tracks seem to run together.
Thrash fans, unite!!!