Review Summary: Music from the death metal orient that is both pleasing and accessible for the listener.
There will always be the endless bands producing the same thing to their worldwide audiences, much of their spiel sounding to much like the next, convincing the listener of their good intentions and releasing groundbreaking or fresh music. However, listeners’ do know that most of that music is anything but. Hailing from France, Arkan are one of the few bands that do release something fresh (read: although not unique) onto the death metal scene. Salam
presents the listener with an intelligent combination of flair and diversity whilst maintaining a consistent approach, ensuring the music is accessible to the listener.
As for Arkan’s sound; they mix metal (typically that of death metal) and oriental, middle eastern sounds and whilst these two styles could be seen as a huge clash in contrast it creates an interesting and enjoyable level of diversity, strengthening the album’s overall sound. Salam
is presented to the listener with as much of the grandeur as those two contrasting styles can. In comparison to the band’s debut effort Hilal
has lost the awkward issues that plagued the debut in both timing and repetitiveness. Granted, Salam
still has its repetitive moments but they are less by far. Right off the bat, listeners will notice the typical death metal growls and thundering riff and drum lines but the album’s greatest attribute is there in the subtle acoustic patterns and soft melodic vocals (cleans). Sarah’s vocals echo the exotic feel to the oriental styles being used here, often being used here the band takes things down a notch. At times the band is devastating, but equally the band provides beautiful accessible tones drawing the listener in before hitting them with another onslaught of riffs, double bass and growls.
Highlights of the album can be found throughout with particular notice to the track “Deus Vult” where Orphaned Land’s very own Kobi Farhi appears for guest vocals. Kobi accentuates the doom-y gothic, yet oriental vibe that is present and builds on the vocal lines with eerie chanting and the occasional call and response with the growls of Florent. Instrumentally this track is not at all different from the album’s other tracks relying on much of the same structuring and sound styles. Another track worthy of attention includes the tail-ender “Call from Within”. Relying on the band’s rather folksy elements where some of the traditional middle-eastern instruments take part, this mid-tempo and melodious track winds down Salam
in a very positive manner. Arkan proves that they can focus one way more than the other and pull off a quality ‘un-metal’ track.
It’s easy to notice that this particular brand of music isn’t going to please everyone. Some of the middle-eastern styles can be at times completely lost on the listener. But, for the most part listeners’ should find this as a very enjoyable, although a little repetitive listen. The music itself isn’t particularly strong but is made up with strong vocal sections, interesting lyricism and an effective combination of contrasting styles. The death metal sections may be run of the mill throughout the entity of the album but Sarah’s soothing vocals combined with some dazzling oriental and acoustic passages are sure to get heads turning, otherwise making up for any lost ground on Salam
. Thankfully these sections make up a large part of the record and ensure the listeners’ interest.