Arkaea
Years in the Darkness


2.5
average

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
July 10th, 2009 | 194 replies | 16,474 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fear Factory with a metalcore vocalist. Threat Signal without the good musical ideas.

Arkaea’s bio admits that at least half of this album was written with the intention of it becoming the latest Fear Factory release - that much should definitely be stated from the very beginning. It should also be stated that in addition to Fear Factory drummer Raymond Herrera and guitarist Christian Wolbers, the other half of this band consists of Threat Signal vocalist Jon Howard and bassist Pat Kavanagh. For those familiar with those two bands, you could stop reading right now because you should know exactly what to expect. In case the powers of deduction are failing you though, this sounds like a cross between Fear Factory’s last two albums with a metalcore vocalist. If the thought of that combination doesn't makes you cringe, it should. It turns out that Fear Factory’s music isn’t good enough to support an average vocalist and Jon Howard’s vocals aren’t good enough to support two-dimensional music.

There are plenty of people to blame for why this didn’t turn out nearly as well as it should have, but the bulk of the blame goes to guitarist Christian Wolbers. For whatever reason, Christian is still delivering the same recycled riffs that he has been using since he took on guitar duties in Fear Factory. The riffs being referred to are the machine-like, cyclic style that he inherited from Dino Cazares years ago and they’re starting become a little stale. In his defense, he does attempt to integrate the occasional conventional rock/metal influence into his repertoire but they’re generally not very strong and don’t really help. Of course, Jon Howard’s vocals don’t help the situation either. Jon’s vocals just aren’t strong enough to carry the music or add the power that this style of music requires. His main vocal style is a mid-range rasp that generally works well enough, but his choruses are another story. First, the choruses don't usually fit the songs they're used in which leads to some unintentionally jarring transitions. Also, almost every chorus sounds virtually identical, from the vocal melody to the delivery itself. The repetitive choruses combined with the recycled riffing leads to an album that starts to sounds old within a few songs.

Due to all of those issues, this album is fairly inconsequential but there are a few moments that prove the band shouldn’t be dismissed entirely. “Awakening” brings something different to the table by adding piercing screams and an increase in intensity that could have worked well if the band hadn’t included the singing chorus. There’s also “Decimator” that proves that the recycled riffs can still work if the vocals are good enough – as they are here with Jon doing his best Burton impression while accompanied by hardcore shouts. The most positive display of the band’s potential, though, is the song “Lucid Dreams”. It takes a huge influence from Around the Fur-era Deftones, but with enough originality to not be considered a blatant copy. The main melody is delivered by a clean guitar sound that gives the song an eerie, expansive feeling that is enhanced by an excellent drum performance by Raymond. Jon’s vocals even take on a bit of a Chino influence in the verses and more surprising, the chorus doesn't ruin the song.

It’s hard not to cut the band a little bit of slack considering the fact that it’s obvious most of these songs were built to be sung by Burton Bell. Additionally, Jon apparently had very little time to work on his vocal parts, which would (hypothetically) explain why all of his choruses are so similar. Unfortunately, simply knowing the circumstances won’t make this any more enjoyable. The album suffers from a feeling of redundancy in both the riffs and the vocals that simply can’t be ignored. The redundancy isn’t enough to make the album unlistenable - in fact it can be quite enjoyable under the right circumstances (driving, the gym) - but there just aren’t enough good ideas and variation to make this worthwhile to anyone except the most hardcore Fear Factory/Threat Signal fans. If this album displays any ray of light it is that there are at least a few good riffs and half-realized ideas that display the potential for something special if only the band takes a few chances on their next release.



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user ratings (54)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
July 10th 2009



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I really thought I'd like this since I've liked every FF album and even like Threat Signal. Maybe next album.

On the other hand, apparently they thought about getting Mudvayne's bass player originally but didn't cause he couldn't tour and they didn't want to have to find someone to play his weird parts live. He could have put this band over the top, I think.


http://www.myspace.com/arkaeamusic

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

BallsToTheWall
July 10th 2009



44164 Comments


Threat Signal's vocalist rules. This doesnt sound good but Burton andDino re-formed Fear Factory. Hail Satan

Willie
Moderator
July 10th 2009



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Threat Signal's vocalist is good in Threat Signal but he just doesn't do it here.

Wizard
July 10th 2009



18757 Comments


but the bulk of the blame goes to guitarist Christian Wolbers.

He should have stuck to bass although he was pretty good on Archetype.

Where was Burton on this album? He was still performing with Christian and Raymond on the last two Fear Factory albums. Excellent review, I will most likely check this out.

Digging: Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Willie
Moderator
July 10th 2009



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Burton ditched these two to do his Ascension of the Watchers (or something like that) band. Now he has hooked back up with Dino and they're trying to take the FF name from Christian and Raymond.

Wizard
July 10th 2009



18757 Comments


Fucked up drama.....wait a minute....they haven't changed in ten years hahahaha.

MisterBeefy
July 10th 2009



244 Comments


I prefer his vocals on this then threat signal.

Willie
Moderator
July 10th 2009



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I did too, for a few songs. Did you listen to the full album or the Myspace songs?

MisterBeefy
July 10th 2009



244 Comments


myspace songs, I can't find the rest of em.

R6Rider
July 10th 2009



4063 Comments


well at least the album cover looks cool

Digging: Homewrecker - Worms and Dirt

LisbonGirls
July 10th 2009



832 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great review. This album is extremely boring. Could you do me a favour WillieFisterbut? If you have the time would you check out my review on Death by Stereo's new album?

R6Rider
July 10th 2009



4063 Comments


Just checked out Locust and that was enough for me

He sounds just like the dude from Linkin Park in that chorus

MisterBeefy
July 10th 2009



244 Comments


I liked Locust

Wizard
July 10th 2009



18757 Comments


"Locust" was terrible. This doesn't sound like it deserves a 2.5.

R6Rider
July 10th 2009



4063 Comments


and that riff is soooooo boring, 1p0 1p0 1p0 1p0 4p0 1p0 1p0 etc

Klekticist
July 10th 2009



1258 Comments


listened to their myspace songs. horrible....

LisbonGirls
July 10th 2009



832 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Locust was okay, the rest of the album blows

Piglet
July 10th 2009



4644 Comments


Pity...

lobby
July 10th 2009



1251 Comments


The Frail Tide art much?

renegadestrings
July 10th 2009



1416 Comments


can rock/metal/whatever start making the move away from naming all songs "break the silence"????



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