Recorded on 20 April 1996 “South of the Mason-Dixon Line”. Live songs were recorded on 18 July 1998 in Virginia.
When I popped this CD into my computer Winamp complained that it had a “bad area”. It couldn’t be more wrong.
Now, bearing in mind that this is a six-track demo, padded out with some live tracks, it’s still pretty terrible. Not so much “Arsenal of Glory” as just… well, arse.
The artwork doesn’t kick us off to a good start. The cover shows some kind of medieval scene, a couple of inverted crosses and the obligatory illegible death metal band name logo. Which, of course, uses inverted crosses for the ‘L’ and ‘T’.
On the back of the inlay cover it gets worse. This shows a black and white illustration of a black slave being whipped impassionately by a white man and what I presume to be another black slave, while a topless female slave is bound around the wrists and hanging from a pole.
I realise that the band’s name “Arghoslent” roughly translates from Greek as “slave ship”, but I can’t help getting the feeling that there is more than a little racism going on here. Not least because the back of the CD case proudly reports that it was recorded “south of the Mason-Dixon line“. After Pennsylvania banned slavery in 1780 the Mason-Dixon line became the demarcation line for the legality of slavery.
The album opens with “Rape of a slave”. “Of spears and horns” talks about “the continent of brutes” and about kidnapping Africans to take back to the New World as “precious merchandise”. “Hymns of conquest” refers to these new African-American slaves as “untamed”, “looted from savage lands”. “Branding the peon” (I had to look this up) refers to a type “of involuntary servitude of laborers (peons) having little control over their employment conditions. Peonage existed historically during the colonial period, especially in Latin America and areas of Spanish rule.”
The quality reminds me of Show No Mercy-era Slayer. The music is awful. It sounds like a jam session, but not necessarily that they were all playing the same songs at the same time.
To be honest I didn’t get to the end. I listened to the first six tracks in the car, because I felt that I ought to. Once I got home and started examining the inlay cover and reading the lyrics, to be honest, I was sickened. The lyrics and imagery are racist, speak of violence against women, against black people, and they seem to promote and endorse rather than simply comment on historical slavery.
Any CDs that I don’t really like I either give to friends or donate to charity shops. This one is going in the bin.
Review score: 0%