Tech Death Thursday: Arkaik – Nemethia
With all the hype for Relentless Mutation flying around lately, I wanted to make sure this gem didn’t fly under the radar. Arkaik has returned with an absolute beast of an album, and you need it in your ears now.
Your weekly tech support:
- There’s a new Inverted Serenity song streaming over at Heavy Blog is Heavy; fittingly so, as the song is almost unreasonably beefy.
- In case you some how missed it, the new tune from The Black Dahlia Murder is full-on tech death, and it’s goddamn glorious. Look for Nightbringers on October 6th. Check out the latest podcast while you’re at it too for further TBDM shenanigans.
- Archspire put out one last video before the album launches tomorrow, and it’s actually pretty amusing.
For the uninitiated, Arkaik are part of a distinctive strain of dark tech death to which Decrepit Birth and Inanimate Existence also belong. At their core, each member of this trifecta focuses to some degree on mysticism and enlightenment. How they go about incorporating these themes into their music is where their paths diverge. Inanimate Existence’s music turns inwards, becoming meditative despite its heaviness. Decrepit Birth turn to the stars, their otherworldly leads breaking free of their earthly shackles and seeking divinity.
Arkaik, on the other hand, seem to look to the world around them for inspiration. Despite their inclination towards the abstract and spiritual, their music has always felt a bit more grounded than their compatriots, retaining a greater degree of the human element. They do utilize some alien-sounding augmented leads, and you can expect some kind of unearthly sound whenever clean guitars come in, but these parts are fleeting. The bulk of the music keeps it in check; big, heavy riffs with a sense of urgency that perfectly mirrors the ideas and stories presented in their lyrics.
The addition of two new guitarists prior to 2015’s Lucid Dawn marked a shift in style for the band, and Nemethia feels like a continuation of that new direction. It’s not just more of the same, though; they use the ideas on Lucid Dawn as a foundation, but tinker with the formula throughout. That album was good, but lacked variance, which Nemethia revels in. Songs like “Occultivation” and “Order of Hierogon” are fast and frenetic, offset by mid-tempo bruisers such as the above “Futile State.” “Telegnosis” even encroaches on Archspire territory with its speed and intensity, with a heaping helping of groove to make it more than just a showcase of technical aptitude.
They are certainly not wanting of technique, either. All of their music, grooves included, is extremely intricate and fluid. Drummer Gabe Seeber is a beast behind the kit, serving as far more than a simple anchor for the guitars. The solos are all fantastically executed as well, balancing emotion and shred in equal measure. Musically, this is the band’s best work to date.
Unfortunately, there’s one major black mark against this album: its production. Lucid Dawn sounded pretty damn good; the guitars were nice and crunchy, the bass had huge presence, and the drums had this fantastic dry sound to them that made the album stand out. Nemethia, on the other hand, has that blasted-out guitar and artificial drum sound that is so endemic to Unique Leader releases these days. It’s not a deal-breaker- the music is ultimately what counts, and it’s fantastic- but it does sap the band of part of their identity. If they had nailed both the songwriting and the production, I probably would have called this album perfect; as it stands, I guess they’ll just have to settle with “really fucking good.”
If you’re a fan of tech death, you owe it to yourself to check out Nemethia, which comes out next Friday (September 29th) on Unique Leader. Arkaik are currently on tour with Inanimate Existence and Alterbeast; dates are on Arkaik’s Facebook. Be sure to give them a like while you’re there, and tell them the Toilet says *incomprehensible gurgling sounds.* That’s all for this week, and until next time,
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