Oh oh, that doesn't sound very good, does it?
Well, keep on reading.
Arkan was created in May 2005 by Foued Moukid (former member of The Old Dead Tree). His goal was to mix metal with oriental music. Their previous effort, 'Sofia' was released by Season Of Mist and was quite well received. Yet, 'Kelem' takes on a different approach. Sarah Layssac has been replaced by Manuel Munoz (also from The Old Dead Tree) who, by the way, does a brilliant job. The death metal references have almost disappeared, making place for a modern melodic metal sound that focuses more on emotion than aggression.
When I listened to opener 'Kafir' for the first time, I was surprised. This gloomy and immersive mid-tempo song contains no grunts, no ferocious tempos, no shrieking solos. Yet, it thrives on this dynamic rhythm and massive riffs. Manuel's voice is excellent here. Somewhere rooted in extreme metal, this track is a prime example of modern day metal. 'Nour' eventually comes up with the grunts, and from there on the songs become more varied, ranging from a heavy version of Anathema to today's metalcore scene.
'The Call' is one of my favorites. It's somewhat faster, comes with plenty of energy and the Arabian elements make this such a great listening experience. It's probably also the most death-metal one on this record. 'Cub Of The Caliphate' is also an awesome track, graciously inviting you to a decent headbanging session. 'Just A Lie', is another possible fan-favorite, another mid tempo masterpiece of melodic metal that will make heads bang and hip shake.
I'll leave the other songs up to you, dear reader. I will definitely recommend this to today's metal fans. Perhaps not to the old school death metal fan because he might find this thing a bit too modern and melodic. Yet, those who love decently written metal from an excellent technical level will easily appreciate this. In all, 'Kelem' is a splendid album, varied, stubborn and immersive. What else could you want?