Melodic death metal comes in all different sounds and Arkadia has that different sound to them that you wouldn’t necessarily group with The Black Dahlia Murder and the like. Aspirations & Reality is Arkadia’s newest offering and it displays nine songs of unique melodic death metal that not only can be pummeling but are also atmospheric and ambient at the same time. Throughout each song, Arkadia mixes tempos and transitions between heavy crushing death metal to a slower more melodic pace and back again. Aspirations & Reality has quite a bit of diversity running through it which gives the listener more variation and keeps you guessing as to what you will be getting next.
Arkadia presents one solid slab of melodic death metal after the next as each song rolls to the next. There isn’t a song on this record that is used as a filler, so what you get is nine solid songs that are thick with ambiance and galloping death metal. Throughout Aspirations & Reality you never really know what sound you will be getting next as these Finnish death-heads transition between romping death metal and shrouding melodic entries. All in the same song you can be headbanging one second then the next you can be thrust into a thick amount of wondrous atmosphere which is brought to you by well placed synths that work alongside deafening death metal noise.
With each song, Arkadia does a great job of balancing out the softer elements with the harsher elements to create a diverse listen. Each of the nine songs that are present on this record catch your attention and work their way into your mind one way or another. The twists and the turns that run through this record are a small part of what makes this record captivating as you don’t know what you will be getting one minute to the next. The larger part of what makes this release memorable is the fact that the production is clean and the music itself is well written and well performed.
Even though Arkadia borders on the softer side of death metal there is no shortage of skull damaging tirades of death. Every song is riddled with romping sections of deadly death metal that keep you headbanging until your neck snaps. You get punishing riffs supplemented by screeching solos, your yearly dosage of concrete shattering bass lines, a drum performance that sounds as though the drummer has a grudge against his own kit, and vocals that are gravel filled and yet completely understandable.
On the other side of the blood drenched coin, when the more melodious moments appear, Arkadia breaks out the synths that shroud you in atmosphere, clean vocals that are brief yet soaring, and you get to hear the bass shine like on Small Town Syndrome. There is a good balance of both heavy and harsh as well as soft and mellow. Within this release there are plenty of riffs and guitar solos to air guitar to and the vocals are spot on so you can scream with the vocalist if you so choose.
Aspirations & Reality is a solid release and a good listen that gives you plenty of content through nine songs. The musicianship is tight, the vocals are powerful and the production is clean and each of those elements have come together to create a record that is hard hitting and keeps you interested and listening for its entirety.
Aspirations & Reality is already out in Finland, but it will be released internationally June 17, 2016 through Inverse Records.