Arkh'aam - _The Blue Beyond the Black_
(Independent, 1998)
by: David Rocher (7 out of 10)
Hailing from the Celtic lands of Brittany, this duo demonstrates a sharp sense for unconventionally approaching "the black metal question". Cleverly mixing conventional black metal elements with further metal, gothic, or somewhat "folksy" influences, they have succeeded in creating a single half-hour track which is interesting, unusual and, to some extent, rather compelling. The music and the atmospheres Arkh'aam generate are completely different from what is usually hulled in the black metal concept, and this is partly the strength, and partly also the weakness of this CD. Why the weakness? Simply because not all elements always combine as well as they could, and the atmospheres Arkh'aam seem to wish to produce don't always come out to be as evil, mystical or occult as what they seem intended to be -- as far as I can tell, anyway. This said, however, the Bretons pull it off thanks to their nearly progressive approach -- not meaning hysterical guitar solos all over the place, but literally -stunning- breaks set in at regular, frequent intervals -- as well as some genuinely great ideas, such as the inverted speech in the middle of the track, or the alternating scheme of chanting/screaming vocals. The sound is clear, though not revealing as much guitar as I would have liked (the guitar tone is very similar to that of early works from Norwegian acts such as Satyricon, Emperor, Dodheimsgard, etc.), but all instruments are very audible; so, on the whole, _TBBtB_ is an intriguing and interesting experience to witness, in terms of black metal.

Contact: ARKH'AAM, Residence des Cotiais, Ave.

(article published 1/10/1998)

5/19/1999 A Bromley 8 Arkh'aam - The Blue Beyond the Black
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