Feb 282010

What have we here? It’s another Par Olofsson album cover! And just a few days after we showcased some other album covers by this prolific Swedish artist (here).

Wonder what’s inside? Hey, whaddaya know!  It’s a CD!  Wonder what it sounds like? (putting CD in music player . . . and listening)

Fuck yeah! (pumping fist in air) This is some sick shit!

(Strike that. This is supposed to be a high-brow extreme metal site, rendering sophisticated musical analysis in literate journalistic prose. Start over.)

The band is called Arkaik. They’re from beautiful Riverside County, California. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Suffocation, Necrophagist, Dying Fetus, and Decrepit Birth. Their just-released debut album on Unique Leader Records is called Reflections Within Dissonance. And what’s the music like? Fuck yeah! This is some sick shit!

Damn. We gotta do better than that. Let’s use some adjectives besides “sick.” How about: insanely fast, technical, pummeling, rhythmically dynamic. How about some metaphors? Like standing right next to a jet turbine already spooled up to a full roar while an assault squad is blasting at your head with M4s on full auto — in a hurricane. (read more after the jump . . .)

Arkaik favors complex, rapidly shifting time signatures, driven by blazing drumwork, creative bass lines, and absolutely furious technical riffing and guitar runs. Jared Christianson delivers deep, full-throated, guttural howls and staccato barking a la Frank Mullen and John Gallagher, except on speed. Not a lot of vocal variety, but who needs or wants it? What Christianson does he does very well, and it suits the blast-furnace effect of the music.

And the dudes backing him up play with a high level of technical skill and creativity. Tough to single out any one particular strength — all of the musicians are dazzling: Craig Peters and Chance Strickland on guitar; Eric Cohen on bass; and Keith Roylance on drums. Actually, it’s not clear to us that they’re from this planet.

The slightly distorted production enhances the overpowering face-melting effect — and the overall effect of the album is almost overwhelming. There’s basically only one gear here — supercharged overdrive. There’s an occasional, absolutely punishing breakdown, and momentary slow-downs are part of the general rhythmic craziness, but it’s only momentary. Most of the time, it’s flying fingers and jackhammer footwork, dropping your brain into a blender and punching “liquify.”

We mentioned earlier that Arkaik has played with bands such as Suffocation, Necrophagist, Dying Fetus, and Decrepit Birth, and we doubt that’s coincidental. Arkaik incorporates stylistic elements from all those bands. But it also displays the kind of progressive feel you may associate with bands like The Faceless, except without any injections of melody, and no noodling around. Just brutal, technical death metal played with mind-warping speed, blast-force aggression, and real instrumental flair. Fuck yeah! This is some sick shit!

In light of the “modern” death metallic sound this band generates, the choice of band name is a bit of a puzzler. We assume it’s a phonetic rendition of “archaic,” which means “marked by the characteristics of an earlier period” or “antiquated.” But antiquated this ain’t. Arkaik has its roots in the technical death metal of yore, but its branches are reaching out into the here and now, and beyond.

Buckle your seat-belts and check out this track from Reflections Within Dissonance, and then keep your eyes on these dudes. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Arkaik: Elegy for the Disillusioned

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