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Arkadia - Aspirations And Reality

Aspirations And Reality
by Michael Bischoff at 10 December 2016, 9:31 AM

Having released one previous album in 2014 entitled “Unrelenting, Finish band ARKADIA return with this their second effort. Building on from their previous release the band continues to grow on this nine track album managing to incorporate new elements while still maintaining their trademark sound. Opening with “Aspirations and Reality” the title track as well as the name of the album, it is clear that the band have not made any drastic changes to their sound but have stuck to their Melodic Death Metal  approach with a strong traditional NWOBHM influence and strong melodic sensibilities. While some rhythms are reminiscent of IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PREIST, this 1st song also has a underpinning of keyboards added to the mix towards the latter end of the song, in fact although the song starts out as a traditional melodic Death Metal song it gradually heads towards an almost MAIDEN-esque finish with  traditional melodic riffs and a solo that reminds the listener of Adrian Smith.

Second song “The Luring Madness” starts off strong with a highly infectious groove, what is again noticeable is the strong melodic element to the riffs, this song compared to the 1st track proving to be more cohering sticking with one element instead of trying to combine two or three. The song has a Melodic Death Metal feel to it, reminding me somewhat of AMON AMARTH and ARCH ENEMY, whereas mentioned the opening track seemed a bit disjointed this song however is a massively melodic hook laden piece of modern Melodic Death Metal of the Gothenburg variety, the vocals also coming across much stronger and delivered with more conviction.

Third song, “Small town Syndrome” – like the 2nd lyrics dealing with living in the closed minded small town and breaking free of the chains feel to it, finding one’s own identity , a fast paced groovy track that has an interesting breakdown about half way through accentuated with a strong bass riff, the bassist given time to show off his skills overplayed by a simple guitar melody, the song starting to then gain pace again albeit a bit slower at first before going back into riff that started the track, all underlined by an effective but not overbearing and never distracting keyboard melody underlying the riff. Like the 2nd song, this track is full of kick ass riffs, a strong central melody and lyrics about breaking free from the often closed minded mentality inherently found in more rural areas.

While previous tracks were more straight forward, fourth song “Foundation” is a slower affair with a stronger and more dominant keyboard presence and clean vocals used, the slower pace and the keyboard giving the track an almost epic feel.  Closing track “To Those It May Concern” is another hard hitting song reminiscent of the second song and is a perfect way to round of the album. Although the band do not re-invent the wheel  on this album and do not come up with anything that might set them apart they nevertheless deliver another solid album packed with fist pumping and anthemic Death Metal that should please not only their fans but anyone interested in Melodic Death Metal in general.
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Aspirations and Reality
2. The Luring Madness
3. Small Town Syndrome
4. Foundation
5. Thorns
6. Kaatiala
7. Spitting Image
8. Forgiving is Weakness
9. To those it may Concern
Mikko Järvenpää  – Guitars
Antti-Jussi Valkama  -  Vocals
Vesa Ala Louvesniemi  – Bass
Mikael Leinonen – Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records


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