ARKHUM
"Anno Universum"

(Vendlus)

01. Appellation
02. Grief Urchin
03. Obviated Geocentrism
04. Obsolescent Husk
05. Bloodgutter Encircling
06. Officious Hoverer At L-Point 2
07. Nilpulse
08. Expendable Biomass

RATING: 7.5/10

Science fiction, black metal, technical death; it's all here on "Anno Universum" from Portland, Oregon's ARKHUM. "But do they really make it all work in a way that is appealingly cohesive, if not musically appealing", you ask. "Why yes they do," I utter in response. The musical appeal is there as well.

The quintet, which features the brothers Parker (vocalist Kenneth and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Stephen), does a fine job of weaving black metal causticness, complete with sadistic shrieks, and moderately technical death metal, complete with guttural growls. Opening two-minute track "Appellation" with its creepy intro and its abrasive, rather sludgy, scrape (complete with both vocal styles at once) doesn't quite reveal the black/death one-two punch, leaving one wondering what's coming next. "Grief Urchin" begins to answer that question in earnest with arpeggio swept, USDM crunch that is peppered with some NILE-esque exoticism and just a hint of black metal. A similar, though not redundant, method to the madness continues on through "Obsolescent Husk", serrated guitars and vocal variation abundant. Beginning with airy guitars and chilling screams, "Bloodgutter Encircling" is the track that ups the black metal ante, ending up a six-and-a-half minute exercise in dark melody and savage grace, and inclusive of eerie piano for the track's last minute. Technically arranged and performed (i.e. not over the top), the split between death and black is 70/30 the rest of the way, "Nilpulse" being notable for its NILE meets black metal delivery

It is all over in just less than 34 minutes, which is enough to showcase the band's knack for offering challenging composition in ferocious and relatively compact form, while leaving one with the thought that the best is yet to come. The next album could be the one that results in a much higher level of recognition for ARKHUM.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).