Music

Monster Riffs

A Providence band says it all with instruments

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On “Seasons Out of Sequence,” the first track off Deleted Arrows’ brand new release The Body as a Wasteland, (Prolific Summer) guitar momentum rules the day as the track builds on wave after wave of brainy riffs, guitars noodling maniacally around each other and a drum/bass partnership holding everything perfectly together. Deleted Arrows are an instrumental band but rather than sounding like a band with the vocals simply removed, their instrumental interplay creates dark drama fraught with internal tension far more convincing than any vocalist could conjure up. It’s an airtight track that shifts back and forth between needle sharp guitar pointillism and heavy slabs of progressive metal. “Brand New Memory” emerges from studio enhanced muffling and a great rolling bass line to explode into shards of nervous energy with great raw sheets of noisy guitar being shaken down from above. The twin guitars eventually distill into beautiful dual patterns which wrap around each other for a few fitful moments before the song is off onto its next crazy tangent. “I have this bad habit of writing way too many parts and then insisting that they all fit together somehow,” explains Brent Frattini, but it totally works here. When Deleted Arrows uses its instrumental might to the best of their abilities, each part of a song is like a different scene in the same film. Sometimes the transitions are jarring, but always intentionally so. “Rereading Broken Books” is a harrowing ride down the rabbit hole; deep descending riffs and bright signatures echoing off walls punctuated by heavy riffs throughout.

Deleted Arrows have remained somewhat under the radar since the band emerged out of a confluence of other bands breaking up. Daughters, The Cancer Conspiracy and sweetthieves all had to die in order for this band to live but the best elements from each have thankfully remained. Mr. Frattini and Chris Carrera (also of Weak Teeth) hold down truly inspired guitar duty, while Mike Viele from legendary recording studio Machines With Magnets and Dave Pignone of Tinsel Teeth take on drum and bass. Early proto-versions of the band endured months of delays while members either had kids or left to pursue DJ careers. “Life took over for awhile,” says Frattini, who spent the past year hammering out new musical ideas with the current lineup and is anxious to get the band out in front of audiences again.

I’ve seen Deleted Arrows a handful of times and they are an absolute monster live. Every bit as huge sounding as on their recordings and in no way lacking from not having a traditional frontman. “What I enjoy most is when you look out into the crowd and you can tell that they aren’t bored. Some people don’t realize that there is a difference between writing for an instrumental band, and just not having a singer.” He continues, “The only time I miss having a singer is when we load gear into the shows.” (Author’s note: I’ve never seen a singer move gear. Fact.)

With two engineers in the band and insider access to a few recording studios, Deleted Arrows set out to make The Body as a Wasteland over two years ago, before life took over, and right before their previous label pulled out support at the last minute delaying the record’s release for another year. But Prolific Summer, a new label from Frattini’s hometown of Burlington, Vermont will issue the vinyl this spring and discerning music geeks should pre-order it now lest they miss out on clear orange vinyl and beautiful gatefold sleeves.

Listen to a track from Deleted Arrows: