Arkaea are a super-group of sorts and by ‘of sorts’ I mean they are comprised of members of other more inspired groups. Fear Factory contribute drummer Raymond Herrera and guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers and Threat Signal’s Jon Howard and Pat Kavanagh handle vocals and bass respectively. I hoped the first track ‘Locust’ (an amalgam of Fear Factory’s precise brutality, Randy Blythe style screamed and shouted vocals and latterly Linkin Park-esque verses) would not be indicative of the album’s character as a whole and more of a single to please the label and draw in fans. Unfortunately, the weaker elements of this song were often to be repeated throughout ‘Years in the Darkness’.
‘Gone Tomorrow’ is a fine example of a band looking around to their peers for ideas. Raymond Herrera, a fine drummer make no mistake, throws down some monotonous beats on this track and Jon Howard does his best Vision of Disorder impression while Olde Wolbers is still enthralled by the ideas of his former bandmate, Dino Cazares. The song batters the listener’s head against a wall for no real reason, there’s no particular agenda or even unhinged mania about Arkaea. It feels calculated and like they’re holding back. The record may sparkle thanks to Terry Date’s mixing work, be packaged in a pristine visuals and bang up to date internet support, but it actually sounds behind the times of metal’s ever expanding frontier. Maybe the reconstituted Fear Factory will fare better.
‘Break the Silence’ rips its riff from Fear Factory’s ‘Shock’ while Chester Bennington must be going through his diary just to make sure he didn’t actually contribute to this record. "Bleed forever / regretting what I’ve done" is another example of vapid, generic angst which permeates this album. ‘Lucid Dream’ alters the pace with a welcome mid-tempo riff but unfortunately the nineties influences continue to abound as Arkaea mine Filter’s alt-rock influenced anthemic approach. This kind of song is a bit like when hair metal bands released their big ballad which showed their sensitive side. Nu-metal picked up on this trick and now so do Arkaea. ‘Away From The Sun’ introduces synthesized strings, piano and acoustic guitar to the record and is in a word: dire.
I could go on to describe every song on this album in detail but if you want to know what the rest sounds like listen to ‘Demanufacture’, ‘Amalgamut’, and ‘Hybrid Theory’ then try and make your own versions of the best songs on each album. Voila! ‘Years in Darkness’ is yours for free.