Finnish melodic death metal band ARKADIA have released their third album “Master of Fears” on 20 September 2019 via Inverse Records.
Swaying between heavy & dark and powerful & energetic, the songs on this album are real earworms, presenting the listeners with nice hooks, harmonic guitar lines, beautiful keyboard melodies, clean and growled vocals, and rather interesting power metal and heavy metal vibes that balance the melodeath sound. Melodic opener “The Origin” starts on a mid-tempo beat but soon shifts gear to a fast-paced delivery which gives the song a nice dynamic, while the backing piano melody and overlapping of clean vocals and growls keep things interesting, giving off a Gothic aura. “Behind the Backs” has some of that heavy metal vibe that I mentioned earlier, boasting a chugging guitar pattern and rhythmic guitar lines, while the switch between cleans and growls adds intensity to the music. Singles “Head in the Clouds” and “Accepting Death” are different sides of the same coin, with the first one being more into the melodic power metal realm of the spectrum, with bright, melodic guitars, soaring vocal lines, and up-tempo beats that cater well to headbanging, while the latter is dark and brooding, steeped in melancholy and doom metal, with deep growls and powerful guitars.
An acoustic guitar line and drums open up “The Equalizer” before electric guitars with a Celtic sound to them take over and drive the song forward, showing the band’s talent for writing intricate song structures and keeping everything flowing neatly together. Actually, that last part can be perfectly applied to the whole album as the music has a nice flow to it, with different elements popping up here and there to mark different aspects of the album’s diversity, without losing its sense of continuity. “Rummelsburg” is another hard-hitting song with a heavy metal edge to it despite the brutal growling, as the guitar lines are melodic and the melodies are up-tempo and energetic, while “The Escaping Emptiness” is angry and merciless, with some power metal to the guitar melodies and drums, which play off of the vocals neatly. The guitars seem to have more bite on “Compassionate Greatness,” coming at you with ferociousness and aggressiveness, while the vocals seem to have taken a backseat to let them shine, yet still delivering intensity and emotion. The power metal element is back at play on “Raise the Sails and Ride the Storm,” this time accompanied by a piano melody that breaks though the tension a few times, especially during the chorus, to add an extra layer of melody. The solo on this song is magnificent. “Herakles” closes the album on a melodic note, coming full circle to “The Origin,” with fast-paced guitars and a powerful vocal delivery.
What a tour de force making this album must have been for the band, as all members bring their A-game to the table and the final product shows not only amazing musicianship but also talent and potential to reach great heights. It’s not often that I find myself hooked by such a relentless display of aggression and brutality without yearning for a softer moment, especially considering its linearity, but, at the time of writing this report, I have been listening to “Master of Fears” on repeat for a few hours without feeling the need to change the music and that is something I can’t say about many records.
Written by Andrea Crow
- The Origin
- Behind the Backs
- Head in the Clouds
- Accepting Death
- The Equalizer
- The Escaping Emptiness
- Compassionate Greatness
- Raise the Sails and Ride the Storm
Mikko Järvenpää – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Vesa Ala-Louvesniemi – bass
Heikki Haapanen – guitars
Interview Phantom Elite – “It’s always good to share that feeling that none of us is alone in hard times”