|Release Date||14 August 2019|
I’m usually pretty excited to listen to any lesser-known Japanese metal band that crosses my path. I don’t know if there’s something in the food over there, but Japan manages to produce some seriously insane guitarists and drummers which are perfect for fast-paced heavy metal. The vocalists are usually pretty solid (if not great) and I really dig the intensity and power that a lot of Japanese choruses pack, so it’s not too often that I’m disappointed by these bands.
Unfortunately, ArkRoyal’s new EP is one of those instances where I was pretty underwhelmed for the most part. Arise is the all-female group’s second EP so far. Outside of the choruses, the vocals and melodies are generally weak, and the rhythm section doesn’t feel tight or energetic, except for in a few spots. That isn’t to say it’s all bad, but it’s not great, either.
Arise‘s biggest problem is its inconsistency. It begins with a lot of promise with the instrumental, ‘Rebel’s Stringit’, but quickly falls apart in most aspects until the final song. The vocals are also all over the place as far as quality. The choruses carries a good amount of momentum, but this effort is all shot by wonky melodies and tones in the verses. This is especially a problem in ‘Holy Blood”s verses and in the entirety of ‘AWAKE’, which is just a brutal song altogether. Seriously, its rough vocals are atrocious, the structure is awkward; the only good part of the song is the insane guitar solo, actually. Aside from the vocals, the rhythm section, despite some shining moments, comes across as lazy for the majority of the EP.
But, as I said, Arise isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s just less as bad as it is good. The highlight of the album is undoubtedly the guitar soloing, which is fucking sick, and there are some sick riffs in ‘Angelica’ and the intro of ‘Holy Blood’. Additionally, the bonus track, ‘The Battle of Sacred’, is an all-around killer power metal song, which begs the question: why does so much of the EP suck so bad? ArkRoyal obviously know what a good song is, so there’s really no excuse for so much waste in an EP that’s full of potential. I think that, given some more time, ArkRoyal could come up with some excellent material. Hopefully they get to that point by the time they release their first full-length album.
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