Review: “Castle Bravo” by Arimea

A place that offers a decent number of venues and of course a University full of residents to attend gigs, Oxford has always had a thriving Metal scene and thanks to the annual march to Bloodstock’s New Blood stage via the Metal To The Masses tournament, we’ve been introduced to a few of those bands in recent years. Our latest introduction came to  Modern Alternative Metal quartet Arimea, who comprise Whitney Cooper, Richard Stedman, Tom Cooper and Luke Coppuck and established themselves in 2019 before quickly releasing their first EP “Castle Bravo“. Since then, they’ve thrown down the gauntlet for other bands dropping acoustic renditions, playthrough videos and even the odd cover while touring hasn’t been an option due to a Global Pandemic, so with new singles released in “Never Really Over” and “The Circus“, before they drop a sophomore effort we figured we’d better sneak in a review of it…

Modern Alternative Metal might be how Arimea describe themselves but the opening strains of “Cold” will turn your head with Paramore or Flyleaf esq vocals from Whitney Cooper and some solid DJent framed riff bludgeoning power. The hints at other influences come with programming and a sense of melodic sensibilities during the chorus that those guitars keep in check during the verse, a final third drop off and rise back with a delicate vocal is touch of perfection before a huge breakdown section to close that is magnificent. The title track brings more funky DJent musings with a satisfying headbangable groove. Another cut with the post hardcore delicacies of broken relationships lyrically but made unique by the rumbling power of those grooves. When Cooper says she’s a Psycho and you need to sleep with your eyes open, you’d best believe it. Whoever has crossed her path to create her lyrical wanderings has been struck by a snakebite of venom on these cuts. Her range is impressive; she can do the delicate, she can do the powerful and she can do everything in between; she may choose to keep those vocals clean but she’s not shy of the odd profanity when it suits. “Disbelief” has more of a stomp about it with some intricate rhythmic guitar patterns within their natural groove sound. There is no space for a lead here, but then that wouldn’t really suit Arimea; instead they opt for programmed elements to act as a highlight and plays on silence with chunky staccato riffs.

Echoes of bands like Mudvayne and SikTh are heard in the riffs of the beast that is “Dreadnought” with some quality stop start moments during pounding rhythms and those powerful vocals which starkly contrast and provide light and shade, while a Progressive Tech-Metal solo might indicate where the bands future could lay. If we didn’t see Arimea at Tech-Fest at some point in the not too distant future, it would be a crying shame. They’re a band suited to the annual gathering down to the ground. “The Forrest” has a fantastic drum sound, its melodic leanings despite the heavier guitar tones are laid bare for all to see with hints at Gwen Stefani in Cooper’s voice as she metamorphs to suit the lyrical flow and pacing of each song. Enhancing the Progressive melodies with the introduction of “Effort” is nice touch while Cooper continues to cut the woman scorned lyrically with themes that run on a long distance relationship in tatters, a progressive solo shows off some funky brilliance and by the end you can’t help asking yourself an obvious question. Could they go as far as Dream State? Well they have the vocalist to do so and if they can maintain the heavier aspect of their sound, which is what sets them apart from the back then they’ll go far [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Cold
  2. Castle Bravo
  3. Disbelief
  4. Dreadnought
  5. The Forest
  6. Effort

Castle Bravo” by Arimea is out now

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