Arch of Hell

After embarking upon a post high-school journey into odd jobs in the year 2000 & […]
By Jose Costa
June 14, 2021
Arch of Hell - Arrival album cover

After embarking upon a post high-school journey into odd jobs in the year 2000 & later, I was finally able to see my niece, Jennifer, arrive at last from Germany after she lived there for most of her High School years. Jennifer lived there through her Father-in- Law's participation in the American Military while stationed in the city of Butzbach, &  Rammstein Airbase. As I was eager to hear her stories about how she encountered & experienced German culture, the subject of European musical tastes surfaced between us, & she had mentioned how much the younger generations of Germans loved "Techno" or "Electronica" music of any kind.

When I heard that information I didn't know weather to be surprised, or simply dumbfounded by the interest in Electronica music by young German folks who had a relatively diverse musical output in the form of Dynamic Rock, Thrash Metal & even German-language Hip Hop. I was relatively biased against the presence of, or need, for Electronica-based influences in any branch of Rock, or Heavy Metal subgenres. The contrast in between Pop based Electronica music, & then the style of acts like MINISTRY & NAILBOMB in contrast, were convenient in their differences & drew mixed reactions in the early 90's.

The mature Metal fans here & abroad would soon be compelled to accept that experimentation ensures originality & survival, however. In the need to progress both Extreme & cult Metal bands suited themselves to Melodic essences & styles when their intuitions called internally for a stab at newly found sensations in the fledgling underworld(s) of Extreme Metal. Inspirations in the form of CELTIC FROST, GORGUTS, PESTILENCE, all from Europe, held a reasonable amount of hope for a younger generation, as did American acts like DEATH, CYNIC, NILE, & GORGUTS who all helped to raise an invisible bar of songwriting to noticeable traction from 1989 onto 1996, just before the slump in passion became prevalent in America's side of Metal musicianship.

If your collection of music accumulated as mine did throughout the early 2000's you may have already known what you were looking for, but not for looking for who would define the rising of more progressive occassions in underground musical formations, & in spite of the "algebraic magic" that progressive compositions retained from the styles of the 70's Melodic Rock groups. In this atmosphere, ARCH OF HELL aim to share the awareness of a seemingly incomplete self by an alignment of clear songwriting spawning from several influences that is certainly not rushed, but raises a far-off candle of composition into an album that is loosely akin to a grey area of bands like ARCH ENEMY, EVANESCENCE & TIAMAT.

It will require significant discipline to perform & surmount even relatively short tracks like "Sachmet", among no less than 7 members of whom each would participate with common vigor. The style of choice here employs both clean & unclean vocals in the outline of Finns AMORPHIS, except with a dynamic backdrop that boasts a presence of short but wholesome guitar licks in "Stardust".  Even collective, Choral-esque vocals in "Follow the Sphinx" are present & may remind a relatively older fan of TIAMAT's "The Southernmost Voyage", circa 1991.

The one series of compositions in "Arrival" that may very well be especially peculiar is the presence of no less than 3 instrumental tracks. Neither the first or last track are related in content as it is known that certain instrumental tracks are "looped", such as with the Intro & final track for MORBID ANGEL's "Ilvd Divinvm Insanvs" with both boasting Electronica-based composition techniques after succeeding mostly Extreme metal guitar-driven tracks. Perhaps just like CELTIC FROST & NILE before them the opening instrumental "Chariots of the Gods" bears Middle Eastern influences suited to the topic of diverse Mythologies of the Graeco-Roman & Egyptian people's traditions with a romantic & less fearsome effect than their predecessors in Celtic Frost & Nile.

The keyboards & their touches pleasantly seep in & through the tracks without dashing aimlessly from the structures. Blast beats are absent but the touch of a Extreme Metal identity flows through as predelictions of listeners may take aim at noticing the midpaced feel as being almost far too runned-on, pleasant, & predictable for all the sincere emphasis on songwriting symmetry. It can be a labor of love to hold a candle to your influences but the compositions here from the style of ARCH OF HELL may inadvertently induce a distracting effect from what previous bands have accomplished thus far. It's as if the point of distance in the perspective of the songwriters led them away from one corner only to accommodate them into another for whatever their merit would bear. The vibrant sound may entice a need to notice the culled bass even while the percussion thrives. You may recall as a pre-millenial having heard ACCEPT's METAL HEART & how upon as soon as a second listen was experienced, you'd noticed that the drumlines on each track were damn near identical. "Arrival" then stands out for such musical conventions that may appeal to some but come across as seeming "cosmetic" in nature & therefore raising concerns for future direction in composition-building.

As young as they may seem, ARCH OF HELL still embrace discipline in this day & age where quickness in listening consumption proves to be an obstacle just for either how long, or short a time it may prove to take a toll on your self awareness & the sense of ambition that the Extreme Metal underground is supposed to thrive from. Perhaps the sooner you notice the haplessness of your path, the easier it would be much later to take hold of your musical whims & entice more long term fulfillment from the highlights set by previous trailblazers who were unsure of the stature that Electronica based influences would acquire.

8 / 10









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"Arrival" Track-listing:

1. Chariots of the Gods
2. Arrival
3. Nile
4. Sachmet
5. Curse of Reincarnation
6. 19.07.13
7. Stardust
8. Follow the Sphinx
9. Ambrosia
10. Ungrateful
11. Vanishing out of the Earth

Arch of Hell Lineup:

Štěpán Fiala - Vocals
David "Childy" Pešák - Guitars
Tereza Nesvatbová - Vocals
Martin "Kozdič" Kozdera - Guitars
Michal Moric - Bass
Jana Poskerová - Keyboards
Martin "Marty" Medek - Drums

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