This is my first time hearing Arathgoth, and the Sci-Fi nerd in me likes this band a lot. Their music isn’t especially groundbreaking, but anybody that can reference Battlestar Galactica, The Running Man, Captain Harlock, Dune, Transformers, and Alien on one record is cool in my book. As a music critic, though, I have the unpleasant duty of telling it like it is from a musical perspective. Arathgoth has an identity crisis. They don’t know whether they want to be Electronic Ambient/Industrial or Atmospheric Black Metal. Some of the songs are Black Metal in style, incorporating Gothic/Industrial keyboards and elements, coming off similar to old Aborym with Sci-Fi elements. Other songs are wholly Industrial/Ambient, incorporating mechanized drum beats and atmospheric keyboards, shedding the guitars and raspy vocals entirely and going instrumental only. Taken individually, each song is good for what it is, being either Electronic or Black Metal. As an entire LP, though, it doesn’t gel as well as it could. The Electronic stuff is passive and atmospheric, with the Black Metal parts going the opposite direction and being aggressive sounding, creating something of a schizophrenic whole that is at times dark and tranquil, while others, twisted and violent. This might have worked as an Atmospheric Black Metal album with Electronic Ambient/Industrial interludes, but unfortunately, the reverse doesn’t. Fans of Electronic Ambient music don’t want Black Metal interludes because it breaks up the Ambiance. In this case, there’s too little Black Metal for this to work as a Black Metal release. My suggestion for the band is to decide what they want to do: either be Black Metal or Electronic Ambient. Electronic Ambient/Industrial elements can be incorporated into Black Metal with a great deal of success. Many Black Metal bands have done this. Having separate Black Metal and Electronic Ambient/Industrial tracks just makes things confusing. Given the amount of Electronic/Ambient stuff on this LP, I’d say that going wholly Industrial/Ambient is probably the direction they’re headed. If Arathgoth ditches the Black Metal stuff entirely, they may find a more receptive audience for their music in the Gothic/Industrial scene, where they would fit in better.
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