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The debut of the Finnish act Arkham Kirjasto presents me with a little problem, I have no idea into which category I should put the music of this duo consistin of Jussi Lehtisalo and Samae Koskinen. There´re classic Heavy Metal melodies, there´s Gothic Metal, there´s Death´n Roll and there are several other styles to be heard. The project was formed in 2010 when both guys started to make music together. Jussi Lehtisalo manages the label Ektro Records, which also released this album, and he is a band member of Pharaoh Overlord and Circle. Samae Koskinen is a well-known solo artist in Finland and is involved with e.g. Steel Mammoth.
Straight to the point, what you can expect is a real cool listening experience. Torches Ablaze begins with The Cult Of No Return, a short, slightly spacy intro which turns into a classic Heavy Metal riff that is the basis of the song. The chorus gets quite spacy again, a skilled solo rounds up the opener. The vocals remind me of old Paradise Lost, or rather Entombed? Knights Of Torment, which comes next, hits the bullseye. Samae growls like hell and then there´s another great solo. Then Sleeping Beauty, yes! ‚Your Death was recent, your death was quick.´ And quick is also how this track proceeds with some spacy guitar and a touch of Motörhead. Sea Of Madness is a bit calmer with its psychedelic 70s Hardrock harmonies and scary whispers. There´s also a video to this song on the label website and it´s pretty strange! Bitch from Hell is a bastard of Glam Rock and Death Metal vocals and again a solo from 70s Space Rock – very catchy! Indeed! Whoho! Killer riff, rough whispering and pure Death´n Roll – this track is called Thousand Snakes. Great song. Followed by Speed, Yog Sogoth first with Drums and Bass, before it gets into a certain Black Metallic atmosphere – speaking generally, this band knows how to play with atmospheres and genres and mix those into surprising sounds. Golem Made Of Flesh is a heavy, galloping smasher, which has a bit of a Ministry feel to it. Synthetic Death rather goes Heavy Metal – well, at least the basic riff, and the album closes with the slow When The Light Is Dead And Gone, a song featuring deep growling and melodic atmosphere – a worthy outro of a very good debut in any case.
Arkham Kirjasto know how to create intoxicating music and have a feeling for atmosphere and surprises. I hope that we´ll hear more from this band.