Arkhon - _I Am the Skull_
by: Andreas Marouchos (4 out of 5)
Demos are always a hard affair, since a considerable chunk of them belongs to that unlucky category of releases which, for want of a better work done behind the studio controls, are left to dwell in mediocrity even if they are of well-above average quality. Nonetheless, Arkhon are commendable at the least, for having such limitations borne with innovation and youthful fervor, so that after the convincingly forceful demo opener "Human" sets the scene, this five-track piece doesn't let down; punishing from beginning to end. Evidently, there is an improvement production-wise in comparison to their previous offering, although still not straying far from a middling caliber.

Arkhon manage to pull through a fine craft of black/death, with all five tracks conspicuously orbiting around the pervading melody of Hellenic black metal with measured death/thrash excursions of a more Swedish demeanor. Tri-partite demo closer and contended highlight, "Vanity", sports abrasive riffage interluded with slower, chugging parts. Female vocals and keyboards keep the listener at a constant state of anticipation for the final discharge, which welcomingly comes blasting through with the track's third and concluding part. Swerving between relentless aggression and melancholic harmonies, the transpiring aura of "I Am the Skull", coalesced with the well thought-out lyricism, gives off a clear sense of distinctiveness, a lasting imprint so to speak, which delivers the demo's musical concept with conviction. All ill-fated hindrances aside, this may well be a promising sign of the best that is yet to come from this Cypriot outfit.


(article published 10/1/2006)

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