Arkan - Hilal
Season Of Mist
Arabian Progressive/Melodic Death Metal
12 songs (1:02:01)
Release year: 2008
Arkan, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

Arkan are a rare commodity in the world of Metal. For once, here is a band that lives up to what it promises: Eastern influences worked deep into the music – can you think of more than three or four other bands that similarly deliver? Formed just three years ago by former Old Dead Tree drummer Foued Moukid and ex-Worth guitarist Abder Abdallahoum, with the aim of melding Melodic Death Metal and the ethnic sounds of their North African roots in Algeria and Morocco, the band completely succeeds. Although the ethnic elements are in place and mix perfectly with the Death Metal, this is no dime-a-dozen Melodeath In Flames-wannabe. Any melodies here verge towards the Progressive rather than the Poppy, from the marketplace samples of Athaoura - Shaped By The Hands of Gods to acoustic interludes like Lamma Bada – Under The Spell Of Haughtiness that outperform even Tuareg Blues-Rockers Tinariwen.

It’s hard to believe that Hilal is the band’s debut album, so professional is everything about it. Harsh vocals give way to clean vocals and seize control again flawlessly, riffs and beats blast and pummel, even the frequent acoustic interludes and female vocals, such as in opening salvo Groan Of The Abyss, are perfect. Lord’s Decline, which is driven by clean vocals and some damn good drumming, will make you forget all about the feeble likes of Breed 77 as well-placed chants and croons mix with growls worthy of Glen Benton, acoustic strums and oûd combining to form a song that is impossible to criticise.

All but four of the songs are under the five-minute mark, but the longest is just over seven minutes, the band careful not to outstay its welcome. Whether it’s the Deicide worship of Chaos Cypher or the anthemic likes of The Seven Gates, you’re sure to enjoy Hilal. It’s simply impossible not to get drawn into Arkan’s world, a world of sand and sun, of far-away lands and beautiful exotic women. Maybe it’s the repressed Englishman in me talking, but when faced with rainy skies and dull concrete buildings stretching for miles, there’s little that lifts the spirits like the hint of something foreign and colourful, full of mystery and promise.

Few of you seem to dislike these sorts of influences in their Metal, which makes it a pity that the oppressive governments of many an Arabian land come down so heavily on a scene that is growing so impressively. Fortunately for Arkan and us, they have a sympathetic home in Paris and with a debut this impressive the band has a bright future indeed.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Groans Of The Abyss, Lord’s Decline, Mistress Of The Damned Souls, Lamma Bada, Tied Fates, The Seven Gates, Chaos Cypher
Goat quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Arkan that we have reviewed:
Arkan - Sofia reviewed by Andy and quoted 66 / 100
Arkan - Salam reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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