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Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts
by Thomas Kumke at 22 May 2022, 12:55 PM

ARKAIK hailing from Riverside, California were formed in 2004 and vocalist Jared Christianson is the only founding member left in the band. The technical Death Metal outfit released so far one EP and “Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts” is their sixth full-length album. It was mixed by Mike Low (INFERI, OUBLIETTE) and mastered by Dave Otero (ex-ABERRANT, ex-DETHRONED) at Flatline Audio. Malcolm Pugh (INFERI, DEMON KING) played the bass on the album. It has a length of more than 47 minutes and it was released via US label The Artisan Era which are specialists for brutal technical Death Metal and progressive Death Metal.

The album opens with “The Orphion Descent”, a mixture of aggression, technical highly comprehensive and skillful guitar, bass, and drum play, and progressive elements. The growling vocals are brutal and they have a remarkable range from low growls to highly pitched screams. The song structure is complex with plenty of distortions in rhythm. The lead guitar is played by former guitarist Miguel Esparza. “Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts” seamlessly continues with the technical Death Metal assault with similarly complex textures as in the opener. The bass lines are slightly more dominant and the guitar riffing has a little touch of catchiness at times. The track comes with a very contributing lead guitar solo. “Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts” is the official video release and the YouTube link is given below.

While the first two tracks were varying around mid-tempo, “Abode Of The Deceiver” starts with plenty of pace and lots of blast-beats. When the track transitions into its few mid-tempo parts, the riffing is powerful and dark. The lead guitar solo, once again played by Miguel Esparza, is highly technical, but gives the track a melodic balance. The melodies are melancholic, adding to the darkness of the track. “Broken Glass Apotheum” continues with the blast-beat attack and with the distortions in rhythm. The vocals include a lot of highly pitched screams and there are plenty of progressive elements throughout the track. During the second half, focus is put on atmospheric components, which support nicely the lead guitars, and consequently, the track finishes with orchestral elements.

Wayward Opulence” maintains a high pace and busy riffing and drumming throughout. This track is a good example for modern progressive technical Death with all the attention for details in the riffing, the leads, and the drumming. Focus is put here on the instrumental parts although vocalist Jared Christianson does a great job to keep everything well together. “To Summon Amoria” starts atmospheric with the guitars and flute, before it transitions into a simple, but very heavy guitar riffing at mid-tempo. The melodic framework is based on Middle Eastern traditional Folk and it tries to punch its way to the surface of the track with flutes and violins whenever possible. The lead guitar solo is also bound to those melodies and it is followed by an extended instrumental part where the violin drives the track forward. There are a few guest appearances on “To Summon Amoria”. Juliette Camille plays the violin, Miguel Esparza and Jack Fleigler the lead guitars, and Dallas Brown took on the flute.

The Vertical Road” is one of the more melodic songs on the album. It starts with an extended lead guitar part which gives a melodic melancholic direction for the track. The tempo is slow and the rhythm stomping. ARKAIK waltz their way through the song like a steamroller with pounding riffing and drumming. The album closes with “Eminence Emergence” and the track goes back to well-tried tech Death hammering with plenty of technicalities in the lead guitars, bass, and drums, as well as twists and turn in rhythm. It also adds atmospheric elements like a choir at the beginning and the piano driven finale. A good way to end the album.

Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts” is a very good modern technical Death Metal album and certainly one of the best albums, ARKAIK released so far. The strengths are the high technical quality of every instrument and how they complement each other, as well as the power and dynamics of the songs. If there is anything to criticize, then it is the lack of a standout song, something that sticks in the memory. Apart from that, the songwriting is very mature and comprehensive. The album is well produced. ARKAIK deliver and technical Death Metal fans will be delighted to listen to the new album.

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

4 Star Rating

1. The Orphion Descent
2. Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts
3. Abode Of The Deceiver
4. Broken Glass Apotheum
5. Wayward Opulence
6. To Summon Amoria
7. The Vertical Road
8. Eminence Emergence
Jared Christianson – Vocals
Alex Haddad ­ Guitars
Nathan Bigelow – Drums
Malcolm Pugh (session) Bass
Record Label: The Artisan Era


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