Arkaea - _Years in the Darkness_
(Century Media, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (
To date, the storied ups and downs of membership in Fear Factory have spawned no less than four further musical endeavors. Dino Cazares was the first to take the plunge after being illustriously booted out of the band. His efforts in Asesino and Divine Heresy delivered a decidedly mixed bag, the latter in particular amounting to little more than a loose play on the Fear Factory blueprint; poundingly heavy verses punctuated by radio-friendly choruses that sounded about as threatening as farting into a cushion.Arkaea adopts a similar tack, combining the talents of Christian Olde Wolbers and Raymond Herrera with Threat Signal's Jon Howard. Musically it's about what you'd expect. Herrera pummels his double-bass pedals like he's chasing down Lance Armstrong on the home stretch of the Tour de France, while his Fear Factory cohort spiffs up a gaggle of bog-standard riffs with more stop-start polyrhythms than you can shake a stick it. Terry Date's production is solid and Howard's vocals are actually a cut above his work on Threat Signal's _Vigilance_. Yet _Years in the Darkness_ is alarmingly flat and uninspiring. Described by Century Media as a "dangerous sonic machine that will blow your speakers with a whirlwind of metallic fury", it's anything but. Instead, with the exception of the catchy "Rise Today", this record sounds like exactly what it is: a pay-day to tide over Herrera and Wolbers while they squabble over the rights to the Fear Factory moniker in court.
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