By Dr. Abner Mality

Israel’s Arallu have been lurking in the shadows of the Middle Eastern black/thrash metal scene for decades now. They have always seemed to be overshadowed by their countrymen Melechesh, in particular. After hearing “Six”, I’m afraid I can understand why.

First, they lack the polished and meticulous production that Melechesh has been blessed with during their Nuclear Blast days. “Six” has an adequate sound but nothing close to Melechesh’s level. Their songwriting is based on the same foundation…a harsh mixture of black metal and thrash, interwoven with traditional Middle Eastern instruments like saz and darbuka. There are times on “Six” when Arallu nails that sound very well, particularly on the second half of the album. But there are also occasions when they just doesn’t click at all. “Only One Truth” sounds choppy and disorganized…you can’t grab onto a solid riff. “Adonay” and “Possessed By The Sleep” are much the same…aggressive and Middle Eastern sounding, but not focused.

The band almost seems to have realized this themselves. When we get to “Victims of Despair”, things get more cohesive and heavier. This song is an excellent example of Middle Eastern blackened thrash. “Oiled Machine Of Hate” and the short, frantic “Philosophers” are in the same vein.Here the band is starting to reach what they are grasping for.

But on the whole, “Six” is only an average album. I’m afraid this will not bring Arallu the recognition they crave, even though they are heading in the right direction.