ARKHETH “Clarity Came With A Cool Summer’s Breeze”

By Dr. Abner Mality

ARKHETH have a ton of mushrooms on the cover art so you know we’re going on a trip. And yes, it’s a trip indeed...I’m surrprised there are no caterpillars squatting on those mushrooms. What kind of a band are we dealing with here? Well, imagine if YES and THE BEATLES had a jam session with ENSLAVED…

On the whole, I’d call it 70’s prog with a good dose of 60’s pop and a surprising jolt of black metal. You have to have a really open mind to get into all of this, but since this is on the I, Voidhanger label, that goes with the territory. And this is far from the weirdest thing I’ve heard on that label. It would be hard to imagine a more soothing start than “In the Cradle of the Crescent Moon”...a short bit of dreamy folk-psych with plenty of acoustic flourish. But then “Kundalini” kicks in with a pretty robust and energetic bit of progressive black metal in the ENSLAVED vein. That includes some harsh vocals. A burst of space rock with ancient cosmic keyboards pops up in the middle. This song mirrors the trippiness of the record’s diverse approach as a whole.

“Psychonautica” and “Neptune Beaches” continue ARKHETH’s explorations, adding in some wailing saxophone and BEATLES-esque singing. Both cuts are pretty upbeat on the whole and there’s a bit of a “garage rock” feel to certain sections. That comes to an end with “Patience in the Garden of Fire”, which is psychedelic dream pop/folk right out of the Haight Ashbury. That laidback approach continues in the first half of “Where The Ocean Meets The Sky” and I started to go to sleep. The second part doesn’t really get more energetic, but heavy guitar and wailing solos perk me up a bit.

ARKHETH is not entirely my cup of tea, but their sound intrigued me enough to keep me hanging on through the whole record. It’s also to the album’s advantage that nothing goes overboard in terms of length...which is not always the case with I, Voidhanger. Prog and psych fans will probably like this the most.