The Arteries - Dead Sea [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Arteries

Dead Sea [reissue] (2012)


The Arteries love the Descendents. The Arteries love AC/DC. Whereas they manage to channel that love of the Descendents through their side project, Ssssnakes, the AC/DC influences are there for all to hear on Dead Sea, their second album. That's not to say that this is a just a mass of metal mayhem; no, it's much more than that but it's impossible to miss those big Angus Young-inspired riffs when they come into play. The actual beauty of what they do is that the Arteries show a level of musical maturity in being able to bring together a number of genres and styles into a cohesive and quality approach of their own.

For a variety of reasons the band has decided to repress the LP version, which was originally released in 2010 on Paper + Plastick, on their own label (the CD version is still available through Specialist Subject Records). How I never got round to buying it when it was first released I don't know as I had the first album and had also seen the band play an extremely high octane set once. Nevertheless, I've now got a copy of this in my palms and it's warming me through to the cockles of my heart.

Although never the biggest fan of metal there are some punk bands that have managed to mix in a bit of big hair activity to their punk sound to make it palatable. The Arteries, however, have the ability to throw in equal doses of the sort of punk that could be described as Festcore, beardcore or even HWMcore, along with a more typical 21st century U.K. sound all stuck together with the massive metal riffs mentioned above. The other thing going for them is that in Miles Morgan, they have an atypical punk vocalist in that his voice lacks the snottiness that is so often found in pop-punk, nor does it have the gruff quality that is popular these days but at times it does have a more metal sounding quality that fits in perfectly with the Arteries' music. I love listening to "Acoustic Associations" as there is a line in there that I am constantly amazed by as he hits the high note. He has a set of lungs on him.

Okay, so there's been much mention of the metallic influences on this album, but don't let that get in the way if you have no love of metal, as the Arteries uses that influence wisely without having it in your face from start to finish: this is punk rock first and foremost, whatever else is thrown into the mix. If I had a criticism here, and it's minor, it would be that one or two tracks seem to just get in the way of this being a 9/10, although apart from those tracks (I'm not going to name them--you try this out for size yourself on Bandcamp, where it's also available at the Pay What You Want price) there is a level of consistency that is admirable, with the Arteries being aided by a big, thick sound throughout. They certainly are in my favorite top half dozen U.K. bands around at the moment.