Arallu - Desert Battles

I wanted this new release ("Desert Battles" on Raven Music) by Israel-based band, Arallu, to be a strong example of the growing awesome metal scene. And the album is an example of talent and creativity.

I state that opinion with qualifications...

The opening bars of track 1 ('Al Macbara”) show the flavour with analogue rhythms and strings indicative of the melancholy we associate with the beautiful tones and modes of traditional middle eastern music – which are then matched with full guitar chords as the track progresses. Emotional opening I dare say. The second track ('Old Form Of Evil') is a great track by itself – but it does not carry over the atmosphere from the ending of the first. I am not saying that albums must be thematic or anything – but I think my expectations were just prepped for something else from the very beginning. Thus, even though the second track is superb in itself, I was disappointed in the transition.

Unfortunately, the third track changes again – and this time, I did not enjoy the track itself too much.

The vocals are real metal – of a hardcore or blackened-metal-core variety. And the title track, track 4 ('Desert Battles') is strong all the way through. Hard metal playing, super rhythms of all types, and the vocals are amazing. I would even say the album begins here. The next few tracks move from one to the next with an over-arching style and continual “attitude” in the vocals and the guitar. There are rhythm changes of course over these tracks – but there is continuity until track 7 ('The Keeper Of Jerusalem') - which brings in more strings mentioned above back and forth from strings to full distorted guitar. But just as you get used to that “back ad forth,” the track blasts back into black-metal style with a deliberate closure.

A horn blow opens track 8 ('Michama') and ('The Doom Beating') with the horns and those very human/analogue beats from the beginning guide the album to conclusion (minus the bonus track).

I admit that even though I enjoyed the album quite a bit, I felt ill-prepared to fully engage this album (I have listened to it about 12 times) because it came from some space I could not quite relate to. But as the band has released many albums now – I will just say that this reaction is really about me – not the album itself. Please make your own decision.

  1. Al Macbara
  2. Old Form Of Evil
  3. Possessor Of The Code
  4. Desert Battles
  5. The Demon Curse
  6. The Union Of Babylon
  7. The Keeper Of Jerusalem
  8. Millchama
  9. The Doom Beating
  10. Desert Genii Storm (bonus track)

Reviewer: twansibon
Oct 5, 2018

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