It is interesting how I can change course in musical tastes from day to day. One day it could be thrash, the next it could be funk. Sometimes Spotify makes this jump for me when I am playing my saved songs on shuffle. I am so glad I have not painted myself into one little musical corner, so I can enjoy whatever comes up from song to song. Nevertheless, we all go on binges. This time it is the fourth album of Riverside County, California’s progressive death metal technicians Arkaik. The band’s previous album, “Metamorphignition,” was released in 2012, and was one of my favorites that year. Band members Jared Christensen (Vocals), Ivan Munguia (Bass), Alex Hernandez-Bent (Drums), Greg Paulson (Guitar), and Miguel Esparza (Guitar, formally of Suffokate and Hatriot) released “Lucid Dawn” via Unique Leader Records on October 30, 2015.
For the cultivation of the new album, Arkaik enlisted the talents of engineer Zack Ohren, and mixed/mastered “Lucid Dawn” at Sharkbite Studios. This is the debut album from two of their new members, guitarists Greg Paulson and Miguel Esparza, who joined in 2014. Besides the two new guitarists on this album, Arkaik also collaborated with Trevor Strnad and Ryan Night from The Black Dahlia Murder.
The intro ‘Risen’ leads us into ‘From the Void,’ a bouncy, bass heavy pounder with deep vocals and a technically vibrant lead guitar. Skillfully sick are the instrumental parts on songs like ‘Digital Shroud,’ especially around the 02:52 mark. Ivan Munguia plays a cool fretless bass solo, which is then accentuated by a follow up solo from Hernandez-Bent. ‘That Which Lies Hidden’ is overflowing with skill, as well as ‘Flesh Walkers’ (featuring the aforementioned Strnad and Night), and the even darker ‘Awaken the I.’ On the title track, Arkaik sink to Suffocation-esque depths. The only thing missing are Mike Smith’s vicious blast beats. ‘Conjuring’ is a sick, treacherous composition. You can really feel that the band (at least compositionally) are at their peak. ‘Temple Aflame’ closes out the album. After about four minutes of music, a nearly eleven-minute, sample filled outro fades to the end.
On “Lucid Dawn” Arkaik continue exactly where they left off with “Metamorphignition,” with ten tracks of progressive death metal that dominate the game. Their death metal is not only technical, but progressive from the angle that they are not afraid to experiment with the base sound. Although, sometimes I miss a little bit of the animosity of their previous albums, the arrangements on “Lucid Dawn” are complicated, cool, and have no lack of energy. The progressive journey Arkaik’s music is on is a good one, and I am excited to see where it ends up.
Arkaik – Facebook Page