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Years In the Darkness

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Album Review

When news broke of guitarist Dino Cazares' surprise reinstatement into Fear Factory for a series of 2009 shows, it simultaneously augured the departure of his old antagonists within that band, drummer Raymond Herrera and onetime bassist, more recently guitarist, Christian Olde Wolbers, both of whom immediately vowed to continue working together in some capacity. But surely no one expected the duo to rebound so quickly as to have the first album of their brand new band, Arkaea, in stores only six months later! Perhaps a little more predictable, however, is that said album, 2009's Years in the Darkness, carried over most of Fear Factory's recognizable musical hallmarks, since many of its songs had originally been demoed for use as such before receiving the creative input of Arkaea vocalist Jon Howard and bassist Pat Kavanagh — both of them members of Canada's Threat Signal. As a result, the predominant formula espoused by tracks like "Locust," "Awakening," and "War Within" features that familiar and well-honed interplay between Olde Wolbers' semi-industrial groove metal riffing and Herrera's inhumanly precise percussion, only here injected with a new sense of urgency, as one might expect. Meanwhile, Howard supplants Burton C. Bell's Cookie Monster growl and echoing baritone with equally powerful shrieks and melodic cries indigenous to metalcore, thereby rendering standouts like "Beneath the Shades of Gray," "Gone Tomorrow," and the title cut considerably more relevant to the '00s. And then there are songs that break from expectations on either side of the equation, as in the case of "Break the Silence," which visits the wacky, stop-start rhythmic word of Meshuggah, the atmospheric, album-capping acoustic ballad "Away from the Sun," or, less positively, "Lucid Dreams," which draws inspiration from the nu-metal of Deftones and Linkin Park. If anything, one feels that Years in the Darkness' very generous 14 songs may have been a few too many for a band so recently assembled, and that a shorter, tighter set of songs would have led to a more memorable and impactful debut, but others could rightly point out that this lends a little more credence to Arkaea as a prolific and long-term concern for all involved.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

After taking their leave of industrial metal legends Fear Factory, as a result of the return of original guitarist and onetime bandleader Dino Cazares, guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers and drummer Raymond Herrera wasted little time before joining forces in a new group under the heading of Arkaea. Calling upon Threat Signal members, vocalist Jon Howard and bassist Pat Kavanagh (whose album Olde Wolbers had recently produced), the veteran twosome quickly inked a deal with Koch/E1 Records and issued...
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Years In the Darkness, Arkaea
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