Arkhum - Anno Universum

The fact that Vendlus Records are mostly renowned for their black-metal rooster and the mixing duties are credited to Agalloch’s bassist Jason Walton have led me to believe that Arkhum’s Latin-named first album “Anno Universum” was peddling a black-metal style in the vein of their label mates Agalloch and Wolves In the Throne Room. Nothing could be further from the truth ‘cause although “Anno Universum” does bear some black-metal influences, but it owns more to acts like Beneath the Massacre and Necrophagist than it does to Burzum or Darkthrone.Overall, this is a strong and technical death-metal record that is admirably brutal yet fails to foster a distinct identity. Arkhum certainly possess the skills to churn out some viscous and complex tunes that could rival with the most virtuoso players in this oversaturated genre, yet it doesn't necessarily translate into edifying some outstanding and crushing songs. Too often “Anno Universum” falls into self-indulgence, completely neglecting the importance of a relatively straightforward and lethal riff. Plus, Kenneth Parker’s vocals are utterly incomprehensible, balancing between pig squeals and the growls of bear trapped in a deep hole. It certainly takes some time to get into them.
If you still have the stomach to endure more than half-an-hour of brutal, hyper-technical death-metal in the vein Necrophagist then you might want to give a listen to “Anno Universum”, I’m sure it won’t let you down.

David Alexandre

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For fans of: Beneath the Massacre, Necrophagist