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Arkheth - Clarity Came With A Cool Summer's Breeze review

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Band: Arkheth
Album: Clarity Came With A Cool Summer's Breeze
Release date: September 2022

01. In The Cradle Of The Crescent Moon
02. Kundalini
03. Psychonautica
04. Neptune Beaches
05. Patience In The Garden Of Fire
06. Where The Ocean Meets The Sky

There's something about experimental music that reminds me of early man's first encounters with mushrooms, and figuring out which ones are good to eat, which ones kill you, and which ones make you see God. I think I know which ones Arkheth prefer.

Arkheth wowed quite a lot of us with 2018's 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew, a batch of colorful psychedelic black metal whose bizzaro psilocybin vibe left a marking impression. It was actually later that I found out that there's more of a history behind Arkheth, initially starting out as more of a symphonic black metal band, before becoming the one-man band oddity we know it as today, so 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew was indeed sort of a paradigm shift for the project. I was pretty eager to hear how the project would evolve, and I am pleased to say that this one is more than just 12 Winter Moons Part 2, even if me and Clarity Came With A Cool Summer's Breeze might not always see eye to eye.

Probably the biggest change is that the sound seems less focused on the black metal side of things. It still has some presence, but just like a lot of experimental black metal, it eventually pushes the prog or avant-garde or psychedelic or electronica elements forward in the detriment of some of the blasts and aggression. This is made pretty evident by the overabundance of clean vocals, which does get me to question who told mainman Tyrone Kostitch that his clean vocals should permeate so much of the record. I figure that a lot of it relies on the uncanny feeling that some of the best experimental black metal, like the obvious Ved Buens Ende influence, would employ, yet something seems fundamentally broken in Arkheth's attempt this time around. The vocals are not the only thing that work against the record, but whenever I feel myself not enjoying the record as much as I should, it's them I can easily pinpoint to.

Which is pretty damning for an album that had much to live up to, and there's plenty in Clarity Came With A Cool Summer's Breeze that comes directly from the bizzaro experience of 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew to clearly imply the same authorship. When things gel together, Clarity Came With A Cool Summer's Breeze is intense and kaleidoscopic, full of elements whose disjointed nature makes more sense the more you give in, and a lot of the instrumental performances are worthy of a lot of praise. But there's too much here that that is challenging in all the wrong ways. Somehow, this feels cheaper than 12 Winter Moons. The production is worse. The artwork is worse. It feels weird when the biggest praise I can give it is for it being short. And that, despite its shortcomings, there's little that sounds quite like it.

One can only hope that this is but a misstep, since there's still clearly so much potential in Arkheth once some of its odd idiosyncrasies and shortcomings could be mended come to forge a more fleshed out sound that avoids its current pitfalls.

Written on 05.10.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 59 users
06.10.2022 - 08:12
Rating: 7
Jacob Butcher

Admittedly, the vocals are really bad in some places. But I am still happy he has the bravado to just bring em. Also I like the over-the-top theatrics and the squeaky melody lines, although I would agree that the ratio of Black Metal and the poppier moments is not in balance. Clearly the previous record is still better than this.
06.10.2022 - 15:56
A Nice Guy
This album sounds very interesting, and the album cover alone suggests to me something rather trippy
07.10.2022 - 01:58

Just got to this now - so Radu, do you have a similar issue with Bloodbath/Nick Holmes' ageing cords? I do understand that sometimes the ol' college try is just that - an attempt that either resulted in triumph or failure (grey area between, B&W pass/fail thought approach x "it's the thought that counts!" notwithstanding)

Boris and recent Melvins (as much as I revere/love both) another example - the intestinal fortitude to try things that may or may not work so much - further exposed in hindsight's aftermath

this was no The Mars Volta s-t, but I agree that the avant-garde savant bard (why a bard? why not? your saving throw failed - roll for iniative! DM/DM - Dungeon Master Death Metulz!! nerd radar power levels off the charts! c'mon Krillin & Hercule/Mr. Satan! the fate of the world depends on you and your action figure tie-in guns for no reason! how dare you carry that embarassing shit, Toys 'R' Us!! saw Axl Rose in aisle 'n' !! ok ok I'll stop ha)...

...I agree that more than half of the Oz-native's concoctions probably failed in what they were meant to achieve... I have known the funk of missing-the-mark with zany avant-garde masking a lack of inspiration/cohesive ideas... avant-garde's envision - execute doesn't always guarantee that the vision's not diluted n delusional and/or the execution's makeshift poorness not always objectively or subjectively compelling

this afterskool special brought to you by - Yappy's Dog Treats... buy 11 of them n you get a free antiBoBo fire-hose. dooon't you know the Dewey Decimal System???
No one can fend off 100 multi-colored Draculas
07.10.2022 - 07:54
Written by prnzokoshiroltra on 07.10.2022 at 01:58

Just got to this now - so Radu, do you have a similar issue with Bloodbath/Nick Holmes' ageing cords?

Somewhat similar, but I feel like Holmes' ageing is at least fit for the music in a way
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
07.10.2022 - 08:01

I mean, yea, Nick's growl is Akerfeldt quality compared to Chris Barnes haha duuuuude new Six Feet Under! Graveyard Classics XII with all Abba n Bee Gees covers lol
No one can fend off 100 multi-colored Draculas
19.10.2022 - 18:40
delicious dish
I put this on in the background because I remember liking the 2018 record a lot. And then like 5 minutes in, the vocals got really jarring. Didn't really feel like finishing it, shame. It just sounds a bit amateurish and cheap, not only how the vocals are put in but some of the synths too. Odd record
You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill

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