ARALLU - Geniewar (RAVEN Music - CD 2015)
It’s not often when I get some music from more distant lands like Mid East or Western Asia. And you know, Israel is also one such totally exotic place for me and I can hardly mention more than three or four bands from there, which I know and even less, which I would really like. Anyway, I got the CD from band called Arallu… and wait a minute! Back in the early 00’s I already had one CD of this band called “Satanic War in Jerusalem” and it was even reviewed in one of the old issues of my fanzine. I hardly remember anything from this album, to be honest, I haven’t heard it in years and I coudn’t even find it anymore (I tried!), so no idea where it disappeared… but I remember it being very harsh, very aggressive and mad… and that the vocals were not so good. Anyways, that was 13 or 14 years ago. Now Arallu is promoting their newest album “Geniewar” and damn, I must say that this one is damn awesome.
And you know, it’s been 13 years since the release of “Satanic War…”, in the meantime Arallu released two more albums, so it’s obvious that the band got better, they developed, became better musicians, more experienced in songwriting, not to mention that nowadays it’s easier to get a proper and more satisfying sound quality. And you can hear that on “Geniewar”, because the album is filled with great songs and also the band performance, including the vocals, is fantastic. “Geniewar” isn’t perfect, as there are some things on this album, which I would change like maybe a couple of songs, which are not quite as good as the rest and also I need to say that I think that some of the vocals arrangements were not necessary, especially those damn annoying high pitched screams. I never liked them, in any band, so this is why I feel that also about Arallu.
But other than that “Geniewar” is damn awesome. I like how this band combines the aggression, ferocity and sharpness of thrash metal with obscurity of old school black metal, even rooted in the 80’s classic bands / albums. And that is blended together with a strong Middle Eastern oriental melody (including the use of some native instruments like percussions or flutes, which I have no idea how are called), which has a strong impact on many riffs that appear on this album. Obviously it gives an original feeling to Arallu music and damn, it does sound awesome, like in the short opening track “Evil Finest”! Of course it’s not that Arallu plays those oriental melodies all the time, no. They rather appear additionally to some songs and you know… the comparisons to the early Melechesh just must appear, right? “From the Desert to the Ice”, “Coronation” or “Bloodshed Around” sound a lot like that band’s old albums, but it’s not an accusation or something, as it’s still very original sounding music. And more so, they sound simply killer. I like that they have some crushing, aggressive riffs, sometimes even blasts like in “Coronation”, but there was still enough room left for a bit different influences. I’ve listened to those songs with great interest and surely can say that Arallu proved to be a good surprise and much better than I would expect. And surely they’re a band with individual style now.
And if I mentioned that there are some songs I like slightly less then I guess I would mention “Giv'at Ha'tachmoshet”. Maybe it’s because this song differs a lot from the tracks I mentioned above? Anyway, it would do no harm if this song was not included on the album, really.
I must also say that Arallu recorded here “Powerslave” and well, as much as I can’t see it fitting the album, it’s been well played and interestingly, Arallu added their own style to this cover, including the mid part with the drumming and a lot of their characteristic rhythms into the riffs what gave a fantastic result! Great ideas are here and it’s cool that they performed this cover with an aim to make it sound like they added their own style to it and didn’t just redo it as it is in the original version.
Oh, I also need to add that the lyrics say a lot about the military conflicts, which Israel is involved in with the Arabs. Well, definitely you can feel it in the music, as there’s this Mid Eastern mood, there are also the intros in songs like “Metal Troops 666” and “Giv'at Ha'tachmoshet”, which are saying everything. Finally on the end of the album you’ll find the Etsel anthem called “Hayalim Almonim”, which is a soldier’s song. Well, I don’t care about politics, etc, but I can understand the whole purpose. And what else can I add... “Geniewar” turned out to be surprisingly great album and damn, I definitely recommend it. It’s great listen, in my opinion!
Standout tracks: “Evil Finest”, “From the Desert to the Ice”, “Metal Troops 666”, “Coronation”
Final rate: 70/100