Like Fear Factory (two members of Arkaea are former members of that band), this is brutally regimented metal from the off, although the singer’s death-metal roar is closer to Phil Anselmo than Burton C. Bell, and also, somewhat predictably, repeats Fear Factory’s error of lapsing far too frequently into melodic vocals on the chorus. It’s a tired trick and one that can only disappoint given that the musicians involved are not without talent and could do better than to recycle the works of their former band, who are justifiably lauded, but rarely imitated with any success.
‘Locust’ pretty much sets out the band’s stall, making no effort to disguise influences or to cover up the overly-ambitious melodic structures that set the band out as aiming for that radio-friendly vibe that has crept into metal ever since Killswitch-bloody-engage decided to insert pop hooks into every chorus. ‘Beneath the shades of grey’ is much improved and sees the singer attempt to project his larynx across the recording studio before (you guessed it) launching once more into the land of melody. The truth is that this by-the-numbers approach to song-writing is not only unworthy of the band it’s also damned annoying as it seems every second-rate metal act in the world has added irritatingly sing-a-long choruses in an effort to expand their fan-base even as the possibilities for decent, heavy, talented, metal bands are expanding faster than they have since the early 90s when bands such as Machine Head and Sepultura ruled the airwaves. Don’t get me wrong, melody has plenty of space in metal – but used effectively and sparingly, not shoe-horned into every bloody chorus as if it’s an official rule that has to be adhered to.
Track 3. ‘Years in the darkness’ kicks off well, with a thunderous backing from the band before yet again plumbing the depths of mediocrity with a chorus so feeble you couldn’t use it to stir your tea with. ‘Gone tomorrow’ is more of a ballad track which works a little better as a song, although it sounds like Linkin Park with a better singer, and so it goes, on and on, with no sign of the formula giving way to anything that might be misconstrued as adventurous.
The sad thing is that I can see this band selling quite well with their Fear Factory meets Linkin park sound, and the production job is crisp enough with plenty of money seemingly ploughed in, but ultimately it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before only this time around its just a little blander. If you still haven’t been put off this album, then I can only suggest you track down a few songs before shelling out your hard-earned because at the end of the day there are so many better bands out there that it’s impossible to give Arkaea anything more than the weakest of ratings for their turgid pillaging of tired musical styles.