Written during her hospitalization in Berlin – “the city of techno” – in the summer of 2019, Amelia Arsenic’s third EP is a perfectly titled statement of defiance against the odds. With the assistance of Shiv-R’s Pete Crane, the four tracks on Deathless offer up some of Arsenic’s most sonically aggressive material to date, revolving around themes of “death, life, romance, and the distorted bits in between.” Filled to the brim with the artist’s signature blend of vicious and virulent rapping and bursts of melodic vocals, the EP is wrought with guttural bass drones and insistent rhythms that may enter through one’s earbuds, but end up resonating throughout the entire body in ways that even the most adept dance producers spend their entire careers trying to achieve.
Case in point, the closing title track, whose thrusting EBM beats and scratching synth bass pack a tremendous amount of aural punch, the dancehall synths in the chorus coupled with Arsenic’s saccharine yet sultry voice making for one of her best songs yet. On the slower end of things are the first two tracks, “To Love Is to Destroy” and “Wormwood,” both of which reveling in the dissonant hums of low frequency bass and foreboding atmospheres given a menacing quality through Arsenic’s despondent monotone and metallic percussive effects; the latter track is especially a treat as the searing ambience of twinkling piano-like tones and subtle vocals effects make for a strangely harmonious mix that is complemented by the synthwave vibe of “Purity.” Stuttering dubstep-esque synth effects and some of the EP’s more melodic vocals in the chorus make for a sharp contrast with the rest of Deathless, but it makes for a slow but anthemic track.
Just as Amelia Arsenic thanks listeners for still being here after her ordeal, so too must we thank her for surviving and continuing to create such an alluring and acerbic mix of genres that puts her in a musical class of her own – equal parts hip-hop, dark electro, industrial, and with few pop flourishes, Arsenic lives up to the EP’s title and proves herself to be truly Deathless.