Sound: As I stumbled upon Arkaik while browsing myspaces, I was astonished by the intense artwork of the band's debut album "Reflections Within Dissonance". Influenced by both the cool artwork and one-word band name, I scrolled down to the music box and gave them a listen. The album was in my hands within the hour.
01. The Transcendent Spectral Path (1:18): an eerie opener with a clean guitar and strange noises which definitely set the scene for the guitar to come later in the song. The guitar and drums come in with held out notes and cymbal chokes: a powerful intro with a clean transition to the next song. Rating: 4/5
02. Reflections Within Dissonance (4:49): a perfect first song (full song that is) which begins with double bass and tremolo-picked guitar. Gravity and blast beats ensue until 2:13 where a tasty ass solo comes in. Also, some prominent bass guitar at around 3:18. A good all around song. Rating: 4/5
03. Paradigm (4:27): solid song with a sweet-ass intro. After comes a nice Origin-esque riff. At about 1:38 there's an awesome stop and a slower and more melodic riff. More blast beats. The second half of the song is decent, but ends strongly. 4/5
04. Obscured Luminosity (3:39): opens heavy as hell (Duh) and goes into a slow blast with some more tremolo. A couple decent riffs and then a nice one at 2:45. Another solid song. 3.5/5
05. Womb Of Perception (4:53): another awesome opening with Brain Drill type tapping and gravity blasts and a neat cymbal fill. This ones got some crazy fast double bass and some nice riffs. Definitely one of the best on the album. Rating: 4.5/5
06. The Divine Manifestation (4:44): opening with a fairly poor riff, this song soon turns into another one of the best on the album. The second and third riffs are awesome. After you thought it couldn't get any better, at 1:54 there is an eerie guitar sweep then some cymbal grabs, then another Brain Drill type riff. Several odd time signatures later, the song ends with a strange oath sounding vocal "solo", you could say. An awesome listen. Rating: 4.5/5
07. Malignant Ignorance (3:47): my personal favorite. Begins with some drum rolls and goes into a technical riff with sweeps and junk. There is a nice solo beginning at 1:15. The "riff" after is technical and even includes prominent bass parts. I was not bored for one second of this song. 5/5
08. Elemental Synthesis (3:30): lots of weird sounding riffs in this one, but a solid, fast paced song. Some prominent bass guitar towards the end. Rating: 3.5/5
09. Elegy For The Disillusioned (4:32): another cool intro, but this time with a small guitar part and lots of drums and bass. The first riff is fast and ends with a harmonized legato lick. The middle, though, is where the song gets boring. It does end well though. Rating: 3.5/5
10. Face Of Regression (4:45): the beginning of the end: a slow and extra brutal opening. It soon opens up at about 0:35 with a faster riff and goes insane from there. Lots of prominent bass- at 0:55 there is a drum and bass duet of chaos. Also, plenty of changing tempos and beats. Really cool part at 2:04. Another good song that doesn't get boring at all- good ending to a good album. Rating: 4.5/5 // 9
Lyrics: Arkaik has very psychedelic-influenced lyrics which are very complex and strange. Though I do not have the lyrics for all of the songs, here is a example from "The Divine Manifestation":
"Sands that fall through glasses cosmological
Land to create the pyramids of numinous vibrancy
Balanced atop these ever heightening designs
Are interlocking synchronized molecular phenomenon's
The conscious vibrations transfer"
I have always been a science metal type guy (New The Faceless, Deeds of Flesh, Obscura, etc.) and I believe that the lyrics go well with the music in a weird and cosmic way. The singer Jared Christianson's vocals range from mostly brutal and low as hell to high screams. The harmonization of the vocals sound very well done and natural. The lyrics and vocals are good all around. // 8
Overall Impression: Even though it was released early in 2010, I believe this is easily one of the best technical/brutal death metal albums released this year (behind Hour of Penance's Paradogma and Aeon's Path Of Fire). If you don't have a chance to listen to the entire album, I recommend these top 3 (4):
Track 1 and 2: The Transcendent Spectral Path into Reflections Within Dissonance
Track 6: The Divine Manifestation
Track 7: Malignant Ignorance
There are few things I dislike about this album, but some things to take note are that some of the guitar is not distinguishable. Also, some riffs, generally in the middle of the songs get boring.
Being a spacey and science guy, I love the LSD inspired lyrics (what I've read and distinguished) and the Par Olofsson artwork. Also, the guitar work as well as the riffs and song structure, this makes for an extremely interesting album.
If some ass cheek were to steal this album from me, I would most definitely buy it again- it was $11 and well worth it.
From the eerie opener "The Transcendent Spectral Path" through the entire album, "Reflections Within Dissonance" is a truly captivating technical/brutal death listen which may cause bleeding in the ears. // 8