I’m, for the most part, a Unique Leader kinda guy. When you purchase (and PLEASE buy your music, kids) something from UL, you generally know exactly what you’re getting into – technical, brutal death metal. Every once in a great while they’ll release something jaw-dropping, but for the most part it’s the Al Bundy’s Dodge of labels in terms of reliability and consistency.
Label: Unique Leader Records.
It’s entirely possible that tech-death fatigue is setting in. There’s nothing wrong with Nementhia – it’s as by-the-numbers as tech gets. But there have been so many really good-to-great DM albums already this year from bands that are either expanding their sound or exploring the genre in creative ways that this one is just there, I guess.
No one part of the album is to blame. In fact, every bit of it sounds just fine, and the cover art is gorgeous to boot. It’s just treading ground that is well worn. “Occultivation” opens the album with all of the hallmarks one expects – galloping hyper-speed drums and stuttered riffing, layered vocals, solos abound – but nothing really “grabs” you. This album really lacks identity. It’s unfortunate as the parties involved are very talented and proficient in their craft, but so is every other tech musician alive. There are a hundred “Arkaik sounds like _____ meets _____” comparisons to be made here, but not a single “This is what Arkaik does so well”.
Some self-editing may have done Nementhia some favors as well. There are a lot of unnecessary key interludes and pauses in songs that don’t serve a purpose. That’d be fine if they sounded cool, but alas, they are the low points in what is already a mediocre trip.
Had this been released six years ago – hell, six months ago – it may have landed a more resounding blow. At the current, however, only the hardest of hardcore tech-death ‘heads are going to get a thrill out of this. It MUST be stressed by me that the songs themselves are just fine, and there are plenty bands that do this style very poorly. Arkaik isn’t one of those bands, but they also aren’t a band that’s doing it with any lasting impression in mind.