UK Release November 7th 2014
Roger Berzerk Fauske
Back to Finland again, a country swarming with musical talent, and melodic Metal band Arkadia. The band was founded in the year 2003 in Alavus, Finland and since then the band has consistently been developing their own sound and has also relocated to the capital of Finland.
Melodic, energetic and melancholic elements join forces with clean vocals and growls in the music of Arkadia and interestingly they cite New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, more recent death Metal from Scandinavia, as well as the wastelands and black humor of Finnish countryside amongst their influences.
'Unrelenting' was recorded during early 2014 and mixed, mastered and produced by Samu Oittinen at Fantom Studio, Ylöjärvi, Finland.
So to the music and 'Before The Dawn' starts things off, catchy riff, deep throbbing bass and drums to accompany and gutsy vocals mixed up with infectious vocal melody. Mid section throws in some well timed growls, before the guitar comes flying in before it goes back to some more classic rock oriented anthemics. Dynamite stuff.
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'Final Disposal' starts off crunchier, heavier, cool bass fills thrown in behind the driving, menacing guitar. More growling this one but it never gets out of hand. Think Faith No More beefed up and growlified. This one too is as catchy as an out of control virus, proving melodic and the heavier end do mix very well when done right. A totally different feel to this but again a damn fine piece of music.
'Frozen Globe' kicks off with more killer riffs, before vocals take their turn to menace, more darkness than a midwinter arctic night. Still though the ever-present melodic injection is there and it drifts from one to the other with consummate smoothery. The heavy guitar rumble from the mid section on is a call to arms before the powerful vocals come piling in again, before it again shifts this time dragged along by some mighty impressive drums. The first two were good but this cranks it up more than a notch or ten.
'May' starts off in quieter vein but soon the beef arrives, thundering drums and guitar again, bass pounding mercilessly behind them. Again growls mixed with pure vocals providing a snorta of a contrast, especially when it gives way to the quieter and the shift again is a powerful musical message. It's not just a single transformation either, but it is all handled so well.
'The Decisions Of Yesterday (Will Haunt Us Down)' is their entry for longest song title but again the music is so powerful and straight at you that you will need to check your face isn't peeling off from the heat. This one is an instrumental and well crafted, heavy burden filled guitars giving way to a galloping 6 string before it comes back down again.
There is a wonderfully built mix of despair, sorrow, remorse and uplift built into every bar. All in all, a crackerjack of a song and to put this much raw emotion into an instrumental is a sure sign that craftsmen are at work.
'Everything Said And Done' is filled with more powerful guitars, simple keys filling out the sound perfectly and I guarantee all your extremities with be a shaking on this track. Mellower at the beginning leading to gale force guitar and semi growling before the chorus overpowers with its sense of melody and timing. More than ever on this one the vocal and guitar melodies are more closely entwined, vibrant in their unison but there is so much to this one I would need to write a thesis to convey it all.
Something that stands out on the album and particularly this beast of a track is the recurring change in feel, tempo and direction, both musical and emotional. Hats off to the guys it works a treat.
'Nothing Lasts Forever' is next and they are right – my bottle of Jack doesn't last long at all. But musically there is a headbanging agenda going on and trust me your head will be shaking by the time the vocals kick in. There are traces of their NWOBHM influences but never too obvious and again the changes in direction are superb. Rhythm section really come into their own dragging the whole arrangement along, vocals once more giving a new definition to the word melodic and all the while the guitar raises its demonic head, or should that be headstock. Another gem, just add it to the list.
'A Drop For The Past' delves into the darker more sombre side of their talents, but, and this is the really clever part, the melodic sense is there in abundance, ass still being booted by some genuine in your face rock. So many bands can only convey the sense of darkness by morphing into a guilt ridden manic depressive parody but Arkadia have that rare ability to convey that whilst still maintain an upbeat mood in a musical sense.
Vocals shine through, bass fills especially adding so much depth. I'm not sure dark anthem is a thing but if not it should be and these guys are going to take some beating in that department.
So to the closer, 'Unrelenting' and there are no holds barred, literally and metaphorically. Fast, powerful and with enough venom to send the most hardy of snake charmers running for cover, it is a sublime way to finish things off. The whole band busts blood vessels to deliver and deliver they do. Elements of punk creep in to the intro, giving way to shuddering guitar backed growling, power, grit and all out nuclear assault on your senses coming from all corners.
Screeching guitar, forceful drums abound before Mikko no doubt suffers friction burns as things liven up even more. Another superb song and stunning way to close the album.
A good offering from the Finnish musos and the more I hear from that country the more it stands out as a hotbed of powerful, melodic and damn fine rock and Metal.
Arkadia are quite honest about their influences and from time to time you will pick them up, but there are so many variations with their music that it is a very unique sound and in particular the mix between growling and pure vocal is very well done. Musically the foursome are all in the groove and fit together, there is togetherness in the music and that comes across in the playing. Better than that, they are more than efficient songwriters and have a knack of finding the perfect power to melody ratio.
Hopefully we will see them on these shores but until then you will have to make do with this album so do yourselves a favour and get your hands on it.
Antti-Jussi Valkama – vocals
Mikko Järvenpää – guitars
Vesa Ala-Louvesniemi – bass
Mikael Leinonen – drums