When it comes to making some of the coolest progressive death metal around, ARKAIK don’t pussyfoot around and deliver weak albums. Instead they have created some of the sickest music out there. Lucid Dawn (out October 30) is the band’s third release for Unique Leader Records and their fourth full-length overall. With ten tracks over the course of 56 minutes these boys from California believe in delivering a product that is worth every dollar spent on purchasing it.
The album starts off with a very nice classical guitar intro that rips right into “From The Void” the first legit track on the album and properly introduces the band to those brave enough to listen. Clocking in at just shy of four minutes long it is the shortest song and showcases the talent of all five members. The album transitions smoothly from song to song and has a very natural feel to it. Vocalist Jared Christianson really takes the reigns with “Digital Shroud” but at the same time ensures that the rest of his band is heard through the song including a funky bass interlude by Ivan Munguia.
This disc has absolutely no filler tracks on it, every one belongs on the album and doesn’t seem like it was just placed in the mix to add more length. Both Greg Paulson and Miguel Esparza share rhythm and lead guitar duties thoughout and get to show off their skills on every track. “Awaken The I” has one of the sickest solos I’ve heard in a while which takes place right after a nice mini-breakdown. Munguia also has the job of being a back-up vocalist and provides a black metal style higher vocal part within the song which really compliments Jared’s death growls.
“Fleshwalkers” teases listeners with a very beautiful piano sample for a minute until the band turns on the blast beats provided by drummer Alex Bent and goes full force for the rest of the track. Jared and Ivan split vocal duties again and bring forth the beautiful mix of black metal and death metal to further show their progressive nature and adaptability. With this track being over six minutes long the band gets to have fun and basically write multiple mini songs into it while switching back to the original structure. Title track “Lucid Dawn” features one of the best-written song intros and riffs that is really hard to put into words. It’s written in such a way that it sounds like horns are being played despite the fact that no one in the band plays them, but it meshes perfectly with the drum beat provided by Alex and the entire track just leaves you wanting more in the best of ways.
This masterpiece of an album ends with “Temple Aflame”, an almost sixteen minute track, which gives Jared a break on vocals with a few extra moments of just instruments before he steps up and destroys the mic. Although it is listed as 15:46 in length the song technically end at around 4:40 of the song and is followed by a few minutes of what sounds like a fire burning outside until it gets a little spacey and has a sample that talks about the nexus of space and time for the duration. Once again, ARKAIK have delivered a winner with Lucid Dawn.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Digital Shroud”, “Awaken The I”, “Fleshwalkers”, “Lucid Dawn”