Live review from 16th Anniversary Party:
1) Oceans Turn Red
3) Phantom Pains
6) Corporate Closet (Encore)
Deathcore meets synth metal when you go to toe to toe with the deliciously dark ARKM, the most brutally heavy band of the evening.
As twinkling cymbals ghost over an ambient backing track, you’ll be forgiven for not expecting the gut-punch soon to be delivered by opening track Oceans Turn Red. But when frontwoman Allison steps up onto the stage, staring down the crowd with menacing stillness, you know they mean business.
The track bursts with early Bring Me The Horizon sensibilities, Allison’s deep growl tearing through the amps with ferocity and intention as she makes full use of her stage space before swooping down into the audience. Flanked by a bassist rocking a five-string instrument and a lead guitarist touting a whopping eight, ARKM bring not only the volume but the talent and edge to boot.
When they take a moment to address the room between songs, it’s unbelievable to fathom how Allison’s banshee screams could have erupted from the same set of lungs as her sweet, all-American speaking voice. We get to hear more of her clean vocals in Disavowed, which is introduced as one of their newer songs.
Erring on the side of melodic, this track is a standout performance not only due to Allison’s rich chorus vocals, but because of some technically ace slap bass skills (that’s five-stringer Bryan for you!). A song which flows effortlessly between face-melting verses and melodious choruses, ARKM here display their experimental side proudly and with sophistication.
“I wanna see a f#cking circle pit!” Allison growls in the lead up to third track Phantom Pains.
Sure enough, when the rapid-fire snare and bass drum kicks have punctuated the opening salvo to one of their most beastly performances of the night, the mosh pit at Rula Live springs to life.
With smooth synths winding through the song and a blistering guitar solo on that eight-string monster, ARKM redefined the term “unrelenting”- especially when the song ends with a chaotic cacophony of “What have you done?”. Jarring to the core, the band’s Arkham Asylum influences are perfectly evoked here.
Mirrors begins with another prerecorded ambient interlude, this time a soundscape of a distorted voice (as if over a voicemail receiver) speaking incomprehensibly over chiming cymbals. Employing their tried and tested formula of juxtaposing demonic, guttural screamo over more gentle clean choral vocals, this is perhaps one of the more polished tracks of the evening.
Finally we come crashing into Sorrow, confidently led by thunderous percussion and a deep, trebly bassline. Again the song cascades into ethereality during the chorus, harmonic guitars sweeping beneath soaring crystalline vocals before careening into an emotive solo from lead guitarist SamirZe.
But wait…there’s more!
With the crowd baying for an encore, the band quizzically look at each other before a giggling (somewhat maniacal) Allison turns to the crowd and sweetly posits, “Do you want one more?”
Within moments we are launched into Corporate Closet, drummer JM never disappointing with near superhuman pedalling skills. The breakdown has everybody in the house moving to it (is there such thing as a full-body headbang?), the stage ominously flooded with blood red lighting as Allison and company give every note their absolute all.
There’s a reason why they say you should save the best for last. In ARKM’s case, that reason is twofold: firstly, your ears are ringing too loud to hear anything for a few hours after they reach curtain call.
And secondly, it’s because they brought the house all the way down.
Live review from Heavy #21
1. Opening track
2. Phantom Pain
3. Oceans Turn Red
4. Mist (Instrumental)
ARKM作為壓軸，一出場所有聽眾都湧上前，熱切期待樂隊演出。開首的Opening track和Phantom Pain在處理低音方面十分出色，鼓密集的雙踏與貝斯互相配合，很有水準。而樂隊的女主音出場後的高音則與鼓和貝斯的低音部分形成對比，令歌曲變得有層次。雖然是死亡金屬樂隊，但純音樂的慢歌Mist卻令人很有驚喜，同時兼有迷幻、哀傷和迷失，甚至比其他歌曲來得更有特色，更有味道。而Mirrors作為樂隊的Debut Single，卻不見太有特色，亦未聽得出主音介紹的科技迷失感。但整體而言，ARKM展現了立體、有層次而獨特的重金屬風格，值得一讚。
Guitars were quite distorted and the metalcore influence shone through. Right at the start the band had a Korn vibe going coupled with death metal vocals as well as skilful screeching vocals. Calling this band industrial might be a bit of a stretch as many elements reminded me of the metalcore genre. Breakdowns were frequent and as well as the above mentioned vocal styles, the vocalist also presented hardcore vocals. The gig was definitely high energy. The band used samples to create atmosphere and one song involved the audience and their phone lights (back then it would’ve been lighters). The band presented a few different styles and influences so casual metal listeners should be well catered for and enjoy the show. Overall, the band certainly knew how to use their instruments of choice; now if they’d focus on creating a more industrial metal sounding band, they’d surely have the skill to.
– Matt Harris