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Arch of Hell - Arrival Award winner

Arch of Hell
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 19 December 2020, 12:50 PM

Symphonic/Melodic Death Metal Czechia’s ARCH OF HELL formed in 2006. They released their debut in 2009, and then seven long years followed until their next release. “Arrival” is their third and contains eleven tracks. “Chariot of the Gods” leads off the album. It’s a short, mood-setting instrumental, featuring some electronica and a steady, pulsing rhythm. “Arrival” begins with a low and slow pace, high with Symphonic elements. The vocals are very guttural, and his range is impressive. Augmented with female cleans, the chorus is melodic.

“Nile” hear the Egyptian theme continue, both in the music and the lyrics. The Symphonic elements are more subtle here. The alternating passages of clean and harsh vocals keep true to the genre, and the lead guitarist shows some real chops here. “Sachmet” opens with some choppy guitars and repeated vocal chants. Sachmet was an Egyptian Goddess of Healing that used to protect the Pharaohs and lead them into wars.  This time, clean male and female vocals occupy the chorus. They repeat her name in worship. “Curse of Reincarnation” is a shorter song with a fast-moving guitar riff and some light symphonics. Harsh vocals come out of the gate and for your throat, while the harmonized cleans take over in the chorus.

“19.07.13” must be a reference to a significant date. It’s a one-and-a-half-minute instrumental, that makes nice use of melody, especially in the lead guitar parts. “Stardust” begins with keys, and some background ambiance. When the guitars, bass, and drums kick in, they are heavy and powerful. Another fantastic guitar solo buries the strings so well along the main melody line. “Follow the Sphinx” begins with clean male vocals and guitars, and a bit of mystery. When the main riff drops, symphonic elements in the background augment the sound so well. It has a charming sound, with melodies that you can almost taste.

“Ambrosia” begins with some symphonic elements and then a choppy guitar riff. Clean female vocals lead the charge. Clean male vocals echo. Following the second chorus, the harsh vocals rear their head in anger. “Ungrateful” begins with a weighted, slow-moving guitar riff and ethereal female vocals. Harsh male vocals follow, then the two vocalists come together in the chorus, with thoughtful, emotional sounds. The guitar solo is yet another fantastic piece of rocking, smashing notes. “Vanishing out of the Earth” closes the album; a brief three-minute instrumental. Big accents strike the ground, followed by dreamy, ethereal passages. It paints a landscape of the importance of the Egyptian culture and the power they held over humanity for many centuries.

Balance. The album is all about balance for me. With seven musicians in the band, and a wide variety of elements presented, like the various vocal techniques, this is surely a hard thing to achieve. But the band has done this so well. No one element takes over the album. There is a synergy present here and each member of the band contributes equally. They are also all very talented musicians, honing their songwriting into a near-masterpiece of an album. Grandiose, yet subtle arrangements, with crystal clear production, is what you can expect. Any fans of Melodic Death/Symphonic Metal will surely like this.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Chariots of the Gods
2. Arrival
3. Nile
4. Sachmet
5. Curse of Reincarnation
6. 19.07.13
7. Stardust
8. Follow the Sphinx
9. Ambrosia
10. Ungrateful
11. Vanishing out of the Earth
Štěpán Fiala – Vocals
David "Childy" Pešák – Guitars
Tereza Nesvatbová - Vocals
Martin "Kozdič" Kozdera – Guitars
Michal Moric – Bass
Jana Poskerová – Keyboards
Martin "Marty" Medek – Drums
Record Label: Metalgate Records


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