Arkan - Salam (2011)



You don't see too many death metal bands with a solid middle eastern twist now-a-days. Out of the bands who do attempt it, there are only few who truly stand out from the rest. Arkan just so happens to be one of those bands. Breaking through to the metal world, they release their second studio album, entitled "Salam." The album contains unique Arabic instruments and sounds that surround their deathly tones and ominous guitar riffs. The vocals are clashed together between deep, monstrous growls and ravishing clean female singing.

The album is immediately introduced with "Origins," which enters with melodic acoustic strings giving off Arabic vibes and soothing tones. This is followed by heavily distorted guitars and aggressive drumming. The verses are filled with the compelling growls of Florent Jannier. The refrain is then met with the gorgeous vocals of Sarah Layssac. Her voice is layered gently over heavy distorted chords. Towards the end of the song comes a short solo, giving you a little taste of what is still to come.

"Inner Slaves" is the second track off of the album and changes up throughout the song. It includes bone crushing guitar breakdowns layered with colossal growls and powerful bass lines. It also consists of subtle verses lead by Layssac's alluring lyrics. The song falls back and forth through these drastic changes, giving no sense of direction. This will have you hooked as you await for the next interesting change within the song. Excellent song structure really separates it from the rest.

If you enjoy the massive distorted guitar riffs behind the astonishing female vocals, then be sure to check these out. Songs like "Blind Devotion" and "Jeruselam - Sufferpolis" are full of bass filled drums and gory guitars that are met with stunning, melodic vocals. They, of course, contain Arabic like instruments that add so much detail to the image portrayed. Even "Sweet Opium" gives that image of being lost in the desert. Malevolent growls and rapid double pedaling are also incorporated throughout this track.

Late in the album you will come across "Lightened Heart," a 1 minute instrumental which is short, yet as you will see, is packed with so much action and aggressiveness. Cymbals are constantly crashing as snares and toms fill the air. This is all surrounded by a repetitive melodic guitar riff that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You will wonder why they kept this song so short. You will then stumble across the next track entitled "The Eight Doors Of Jannah." Then you will see that the instrumental before it was only a mere warm up track that builds into this song, one of the heaviest on the album. It contains everything from fast double bass pedaling to slow soothing bass lines and right back to dark, deafening breakdowns. There are even verses where the deep growls sing with the clean vocals that add beautiful edge to the song.

Overall, Arkan has touched on a little bit of everything when it comes to their genre. "Salam" is full of surprises and leaves you wanting more within each and every song. The album is an impressive work of art and deserves much attention.

9/10

Official Site - http://www.arkan.fr/
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/arkanband