posted on 12/2008 By:
Special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun. These things don't mean shit if the two all-beef patties in your Big Mac are frozen and bloody. You can dress it up with all the fixings, but in the end, it's still a shit sandwich. Apparently, someone forgot to pass this memo along to Arkan. Hilal's melodeath meat is malformed and undercooked, but they attempt to compensate for this fact by piling on extracurricular crap that feigns orginality and importance.
Arkan rocks a bland, percussive style of melodic death metal that can easily be dismissed as a dollar store version of The Project Hate. Whereas that band augments their wares with soaring female vocals and electronic wardance, Arkan have opted to employ some Korn-influenced whine (re: the cringe-worthy "Lords Decline") and the not-so-novel-anymore "Middle Eastern Influence" in an attempt to set themselves apart - and it doesn't work. Sometimes the ethnic flourishes are interwoven into their metallic attack, and sometimes they stand alone ("Lamma Bada", "Athaoura"), but one thing remains constant: it usually sounds like 3 whales raping each other, and their inclusion pushes the running time of this uninteresting clump of boredom to the 60-minute mark. Nile or Melechesh this isn't, and Arkan fail to give you a reason to spend an entire hour with them.
So, their convoluted ploy at orginality stumbles, and their drum n' string chops are all that remain standing. However, as was mentioned previously, their riffcraft is half-baked at best....
..okay, look. I'm not going to fuck around with this anymore. I've been trying to write this damn review for nearly 2 months now, but a few things have been blocking my progress:
1) I haven't been able to listen to this album for more than 3 songs at a time, because the temptation to scroll through my iTunes library and find something that doesn't bore me to death has been too intense.
2) This record is so bland, so banal, and so damn boring that I haven't been able to conjure the required points of reference, similies, metaphors, or anecdotes to comprise a substantial, valid analysis. There's simply nothing to draw from.
The "cute intro, descriptive body, sorta-witty conclusion" formula simply isn't going to work for this review, especially if I want to preserve my hairline. So here's the breakdown on Hilal: the ridiculous lengths Arkan have gone to dress up their hellaciously mediocre melodeath will not fool the keen ear. Sure, some may give the band credit for cutting Fredrick Nordstrom a check and getting a ready-made, ultra-glossy tone in return; and, admittedly, "Tied Fates" isn't an awful track. But most people will slap this hangdog of an album with an open palm of indifference. Production values and gimmicks will only get you so far, and until Arkan learns that, they'll be working the drive-thru indefinitely.
Register to post comments.