By Mike Delano
With just three songs, the new EP from Agoraphobic Nosebleed is designed for impact. It makes sense – ANb made their name in the 2000s with songs that often didn’t last more than 30 seconds, and now on Arc, they don’t have one less than seven minutes long. Gone are the rapid-fire grindcore outbursts, replaced with longer, doomier, mid-paced compositions with multiple parts, tempo changes — the whole nine yards. The sound of “Not a Daughter” is all stomp and swagger, even as the lyrics speak of paranoia and despair, while “Deathbed” morphs from crushing, extreme doom to “A National Acrobat” –style riff celebration over the course of eight minutes. The unifying element is the fantastic roar of vocalist Kat Katz, who has a stranglehold on each song no matter which way it swerves next. I wouldn’t say Arc is an improvement over their previous work (their grind stuff was pretty great), nor does it feel like a natural evolution (who saw this style change coming?). It’s just awesome, in the kind of impossible-to-categorize way that gives music critics a headache. So even though ANb is going long nowadays, I’ll keep it short: This is excellent.