August 25, 2020

Arkan - Hilal (2008)

Country: France
Language: English
Genre: Death Metal
Style: Melodic Death Metal
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© 2008 Season of Mist
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
Death metal and Arabic music are an unlikely combination, but if death metal (and black metal) can be combined with traditional Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish folk in the Scandinavian countries -- if Nordic death metallers and Nordic black metallers can write lyrics in Finnish, Norwegian, or Swedish in order to show their folk authenticity -- is there any reason why a French death metal band like Arkan shouldn't have a strong Middle Eastern/Arabic/North African influence? There isn't -- and Arkan pull that off with consistently intriguing results on Hilal. Arabic music isn't a mere afterthought on this 2008 release; it is an integral part of Arkan's approach. Traditional Arabic instruments like the oud, the bendir, and the darbouka are used, and some of the vocals are in Arabic (although most are in English). Hilal has its moments of crushing brutality, but on the whole, this 62-minute CD is decidedly melodic; nuance, songcraft, and musicality are as important to Arkan as intensity and aggression. And like a lot of melodic death metal bands, Arkan favor an extreme vocals/clean vocals contrast; Abder Abdellahoum provides the clean vocals (some in English, some in Arabic), while Florent Jannier offers the stereotypical "Cookie Monster" growl that death metal is famous (or infamous) for. Drummer/percussionist Foued Moukid, Arkan's founder, is a major asset on this album, and he demonstrates that he is comfortable with thunderous death metal drumming as well as with the intricacies of Arabic, Middle Eastern, and North African percussion. The excellent Hilal is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who is seeking something fresh and unorthodox from melodic death metal.

tags: arkan, hilal, 2008, flac,