ARKAYIC REVOLT – Atlantis Rising EP

Arkayic Revolt first appeared on the metal scene back in 2008, but chances are you missed them the first time around. During their brief time together, the Canadian thrash metal band released an EP, a sole full length album and a single, before calling it a day in 2011.

After reforming in 2023, the band quickly hit the studio, and although those sessions only yielded two new recordings, the results are absolutely superb. Not only does this pair of tracks hold up strongly against previous work, but they showcase the right balance of riffs and melodies to make Arkayic Revolt sound like one of the greatest underground metal acts at the time of their recording.

‘The New Hypocrisy’ packs all of the band’s best traits into a five minute blast where classic thrash traits – drawing from as far back as the San Francisco Bay Area scene – collide with more melodic chorus hooks. The opening blast brings a crushing note, followed by speed driven chops that could’ve easily been pulled from an old Testament record. Within about two seconds, this will be enough to pull in the average thrash fan, but AR go an extra mile by adding a very melodic vocal. This contrast of melody and heaviness will certainly help to bring in a slightly wider audience, and when slowing down a little to introduce a couple of trad metal riffs, things sound even better. Moving into the chorus, a second guitar adding a harmonic tone and a harmony vocal come straight from the world of peak Trivium (circa ‘Shogun’), before the track twists again to include a prog metal breakdown. Having already proved their mettle for a whole range of metal within a couple of minutes, the riffs drop back into some classic thrash, by which time, it’s easy to suspect that most metal fans will love the track. Rounding everything out with another airing of the Trivium-esque hook and finding space for a couple of top notch lead guitar breaks, this is a brilliantly arranged number that makes it very clear that the reformed Arkayic Revolt truly mean business.

A little less immediate, but no less impressive, the title cut kicks off with a blast of pneumatic drums and shredding melodic death metal guitar work, sounding as if the band are channelling early In Flames for inspiration. Everything reverts to something a little more familiar once the first verse shares some Slayer-esque thrashing, however, and a world of top tier, speed driven muted notes ensures maximum power. For balance, there’s also an all important sense of melody delivered via another strong vocal. The lead voice, courtesy of Marko Duplisak, is very much of the Trivium mould yet again, and sounds even better once the track drops into some tough sounding trad metal riffs that allow for a couple of twin leads and some complex bass runs to underscore the vocal. Re-introducing the pneumatic rhythms between the verses, session drummer Kevin Paradis plays up a storm, but his best efforts can’t outshine a great vocal from Marko Duplisak, who sounds better than ever here. Finishing with some great twin guitar work and another outing for a great chorus, the track further suggests that this band now sounds better than ever before.

Without wishing to labour a point, in terms of classic sounding metal, these tracks are almost perfect. The fast moments bring a whole world of brilliant anger; the melodic vocal passages help the band’s speed oriented sound to be incredibly accessible. In the case of ‘The New Hypocrisy’, especially, the way that a couple of less than catchy vocal phrases have been given a hugely commercial send off – relatively speaking – shows off an impressive talent for arrangement. In thrash metal terms, both tracks are from the top drawer; the guitar based interplay between Jack Solle and Darryl Fletcher is consistently smart. When heard together, all of the elements here are fantastic; proof that a classic sound will never die. For genre fans, this digital release is one that’s not to be missed.

October 2023