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Arcane Dread – A Path Befouled Award winner

Arcane Dread
A Path Befouled
by Thomas Kumke at 10 May 2021, 2:53 PM

ARCANE DREAD hailing from Greece was founded by Memos Vlachos. It is an old school Death Metal project based on the American and European Death Metal school and it also adds Thrash Metal elements. ARCANE DREAD is inspired by the ancient Cthulhu myth. “A Path Befouled” is the second full-length album after the debut in 2019. It was released via Greek label Sleaszy Rider which has bands from all Metal genres among their roster. The album has a length of more than 31 minutes.

The traditional Death Metal formula works ever so well even after 30 years or so and ARCANE DREAD prove that with their latest release. “A Path Befouled” has all the ingredients to this formula and the outcome is an album somewhere between SIX FEET UNDER, DEICIDE, OBITUARY, and ASPHYX, to name a few. It all starts with “Fear Instilled In The Blood” and “Subconcious Rot”, both mid-tempo songs with a sluggish, head-banging rhythm throughout, powerful guitar riffing with only a few leads, a lot of grooves, and a lot of double-bass drumming. The growling vocals are mostly at the lower end of the guttural range with little variation. “Fear Instilled In The Blood” is available on YouTube and the link is given below.

The title song sounds a bit different, darker and more powerful than most songs on the album. Introduced by a children’s voice and a musical clock, it transitions into a hammering slow rhythm with dark and heavy guitar riffs, crunching bass lines, and supporting lead guitar sequences. The bass, alongside the drums, drives the song forward and the low growls have a level of brutality which makes the song standing out from the album. One part of the successful Death Metal formula are the typical short cinematic intros which are present on many songs of “A Path Befouled”. “Vine Voracious” is one of those songs, and it is another one with dark melodic parts. The rhythm is back to mid-tempo, with catchy guitar riffs and perfectly fitting leads to support the rhythm section. Notably, “Vine Voracious” has a down-tempo break that contributes well to more gloominess of the song.

ARCANE DREAD tend to keep things simple: the rhythms are straightforward, the riffs are powerful and have most often a certain catchiness, the lead guitars are simple and not really technically complex. “Troll Hunter” and “Decomposition In E Minor” are no different from that but the leads are here a bit more pronounced and contribute perfectly to the evil sound. The sound of “Decomposition In E Minor” and also “It Lies In The Foliage” are in fact dominated by their lead guitar sequences. With “Deathammer”, ARCANE DREAD deliver an ASPHYX cover. I thought, “Deathammer” was an interesting choice, since it brings some different vibes to this album.

ARCANE DREAD celebrate traditional Death Metal and they are good at it. “A Path Befouled” contains all classical elements of predominantly American and also European Death Metal. The sound follows a no nonsense approach with almost no experimentation and variation. It is a dark, groovy, in mid-tempo pummeling album, inspired by classic Death Metal role models. The album is very well produced. “A Path Befouled” is a great contribution to the Death Metal world and their fans will be happy to listen to this album.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Fear Instilled In The Blood
2. Subconcious Rot
3. A Path Befouled
4. Vine Voracious
5. Troll Hunter
6. Deathammer (ASPHYX cover)
7. Decomposition In E Minor
8. It Lies In The Foliage
Greg Barlas – Vocals
Typhonas (Memos Vlachos) – All instruments
Record Label: Sleaszy Rider Records


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