The Arkham White - _Relic Radiation_
by: Daniel Cairns (3.5 out of 5)
The first thing that hit me about The Arkham White was that their demo was obtained through a Harvard file sharing service, which made me think of "Frasier". So for reminding me of a seminal, long-running sitcom about a balding posh man who drinks sherry, The Arkham White immediately get half a point.

The Arkham White get another three points though, for making a damned good racket. This is pretty feral stuff in the vein of The Haunted and At the Gates. Therefore, your esteemed critic is naturally quite impressed.

The first song, "Relic Radiation", is an unmitigated triumph, and is easily the best thing on the EP. It's dynamic, heavy, fun and crams a lot in its three and a half minutes. Rhythms stop and start, blastbeats fire away and the guitars sound meaty. The rest of the EP isn't quite as eye opening, but it's still competent enough to hold the listener's interest, even if it does occasionally become an exercise in Killswitch Engage style guitar-wankery.

It's here where problems arise. Once again, the ugly head of unoriginality rears up from the deep, like a kraken with a fringe and a MySpace profile. Certain elements are far too reminiscent of the dreaded metalcore alumni, including, Valhalla forefend, a breakdown (Grargh! Vomit! Vomit!) at the end of one song. Some of the riffs meanwhile border on the mundane, which is a real disappointment, especially after the initial madness of the title track.

Despite all that, we have a very promising sounding band here. For every moment that teeters on the brink of the humdrum, there are five that rage and thrash with infectious enthusiasm. If they evolve their song writing, and perhaps get Kelsey Grammer to sing on a few songs, then... "I'm listening!" (Sorry.)


(article published 24/2/2009)

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