Arallu – Geniewar ALBUM REVIEW

The concept of diminishing returns isn’t just a business concept, it very much affects everything else as well. Typically when it comes to music, it focuses more on an artist putting out the same type of album over and over again, and people liking it less and less with each release. But it can happen in singular albums too. Exhibit A: Geniewar.

The intro to this was fantastic. It combined lots of good middle eastern folk music with some metal elements, giving it a really mystical effect. What more, when the first actual song started, there was an ethnic drum beat in the background that brought images of the desert and the boiling heat to my mind. I heard a comment in a thread one time that there isn’t enough warm blooded black metal, that most of it is supposed to represent the coldness of the north. But why not the oppressive heat of the south? I agreed with this, that this concept is often overlooked in the black metal genre. It could be argued that this is because death metal already has a corner on the market on this kind of music, but I don’t see why black metal can’t at least borrow some aspects from death metal as long as the core aspects are intact. Anyway, yes this is very much hot black metal, and in my initial reaction, it was done well. The ethnic influences were constant as opposed to just forced in a few instances, which I always hate because I feel that if you’re going to incorporate influences from other music into metal, it should blend together rather than being chopped up into separate parts. So overall good first impression.

And then the fourth track happen. The fourth track is a cover of the famous Powerslave by Iron Maiden. I was very curious as to how a band like this would cover such a song, but I was excited nonetheless to see a possible very different approach to a well covered track. They fucked up. Bad. If I couldn’t audibly hear the word “Powerslave” mentioned in the lyrics, I wouldn’t be able to tell they were the same tracks. I get having your own take on an old standard, but I couldn’t even tell if they were in the same key or not. The middle eastern influences, which had been phenomenal up till this point, seemed incredibly forced in this instance. Then when the next track hit, realized what this album really was. It’s just extremely standard black/death, with some ethnic drumming and flutes occasionally. Sure it sounds good, but there’s nothing else happening in this album. Also it occurred to me that the vocals were actually not very good and had extremely cheesy moments. The samples of Israeli military commands added atmosphere I guess, but there was nothing in the music that helped that. To make matters worse, this album is over an hour long, so if you’re going to listen to this whole thing, be prepared for a whole lot of the same, and some occasionally outright bad moments.

This rating is more a leftover from my awesome initial reaction than what this album really deserves. It deserves a low 4, but I’m bumping it up because I feel like this has potential. They got the blend right, which so many bands don’t. They just need more around that to create a truly great album.


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