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Arallu - Geniewar

by Val Smirnoff at 07 January 2015, 6:40 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here to listen and to review one of the most talked-about Israeli album by Mesopotamian Black /Thrash Metal ARALLU from Jerusalem. If you don't know, and you're asking yourself what is Mesopotamian, well, Goggle it, it's very interesting, fact, the most interesting thing is, this album has nothing with it, I am here not to teach history but Mesopotamia is an ancient culture, and I'm sure that in this days, people barely know how Mesopotamian music should sound like.

I am familiar with ARALLUs past materials, although "Geniewar" also has songs which speaks of this particular culture, and even if it is most of the genre and the sub-genre definition goes to the music itself which in this case, has to be Oriental. And even if you must refer it to the piece of “land” or some kind of obsession to this culture, it still more authentic to call it Oriental, as music sub-genre, for my opinion. I will add right away the following fact, the next definition, Black/Thrash is also a controversy in this album.

Well maybe it's time to stop to tell people how to call herself, for some it's important, for some it isn't. "Geniewar" is not ARALLUs first album, it's their 5th album, since 1997 they're crashing stages and building up the Israeli Metal scene, for a band with this reputation you have to expect the highest aspirations and wait for the finest tunes blasting from your speakers and exploding your head.

Evil Finest”, the opening of the album is just genius, very eastern, as darbukas and other oriental instruments start, you can imagine a hot yellow sand between your toes and a slight desert hot breeze on your face Following by heavily distorted guitars. As it goes on to the next “From the Desert To Ice”, this song starts perfectly and continuous with amazing Oriental energies later on those interesting elements are mixing up with some power- heavy riffs. This song gets ruined very fast by the looping guitar squeal part starts at 04:05, in some places it just goes off beat. This song has so many elements and it's very complicated, it may confuse you, for its last part it goes “Thrash Metal”. A song that started perfectly and in a landing point, crashed brutally.

I don't want to get petty on small things, but the 3rd “Bloodshed Around” has caught my attention on some things that bothers me, an influence, reference or muse/ inspiration usually doesn't goes by literally borrowing the exact element of your favorite bands, what makes it unoriginal, and it's not only in this precise song, it pops out in other songs in this album. If you wonder what's so familiar sounds like in the opening of “Bloodshed Around” I'll whisper gently to your ear, listen to SLAYER – “Reign In Blood” album, enjoy.

I'm jumping to the “Power Slave” cover to the legendary IRON MAIDEN, my general statement about covers is very strict, IRON MAIDEN is a band I grew up on and I just can't go easy on this one. either it should be 100% accurate either it should be outstandingly good and has an original touch, none of these occurs in this cover.

Let's start with the general sound of drums, which sounds too technical, except the oriental percussion. Guitar sound in this cover doesn't suit the song and has some extra small adds which for my opinion doesn't suit either. The whole point with IRON MAIDEN in “Power Slave” is to have a petit taste of eastern tune just to color up a little bit an ancient egyptian mood, the only thing that saves this cover is the amazing percussion work that manages to light up this song from a NWOBHM to Oriental Power Metal.

After “Power Slave” the album travels from ancient times to the early past and future, and deals with historical military issues of Israel.
From “Metal Troops 666” to “ Tzook Eitan”, this series of songs one after another came to state the fragile military and security issues of this land even before it has been declared as a state of Israel.

With all the elevating zionist feelings that goes through many Israeli hearts, it expresses itself only by the lyrics, unfortunately the impression by music wasn't that high. The song "Tzook Eitan" for example, talks about the struggle and fighting for our secure existence in the present days, it goes by the name of the last big military operation which occurred in the summer of 2014, for me and for many others Israeli people, and specialty soldiers it was a war hell. The opening speech which is a official declaring entering the gaza strip by the military, has broadcasted all over the news, TV and radio served a chilling experience of hope and tears for Israeli people. Using this broadcast in the album carries a huge responsibility to recreate the same feeling through the whole song and unfortunately I got deeply disappointed. The performance is good and professional but not interesting in this point, just isn't strong enough to express the lyric and the situation.

In general, ARALLU is a veteran band with a huge reputation in the local scene, and for that I could not to demand less than the best. Unfortunately "Geniewar" is far from being one of the best albums. Except the professional and technical drums performance by Assaf Kasimov and Percussion by Yaniv Zada the album, is basically average. "Geniewar" is like a plane that took-off the ground gracefully and crashed instead of landing, it's very sad for me to see it continuous not as good as it started. It has a mix of many sub genres in addition to Black/Thrash Metal that sounds like a collection of many other popular Metal bands. To emphasize the fact that ARALLU are a great performers on stage, got the chance to see them live couple of times. It is a great experience to see their show, extraordinary, very energetic and professional.

It's very unfortunate for me to be disappointed of their recorded materials and with hard feelings but no regrets I'm struggling to commend this album.

3 Star Rating

1. Evil Finest
2. From The Desert To The Ice
3. Bloodshed Around
4. Powerslave (cover)
5. Coronation
6. Metal Troops 666
7. Giv'at Ha'tachmoshet
8. Underworld Resistance
9. Tzook Eitan
10. Hayalim Almonim
Butchered (Genie King) - Bass,Guitars, and all vocals
Gal Pixel - Guitars
Assaf Kassimov - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 01 December 2022

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