Six albums in their career and being a band for nearly two decades in existence, California’s technical death metal band Arkaik are one of my absolute favorites in the modern day of the genre. After seeing them live in 2018 on Devastation On The Nation Tour, they have not only won me as a fan but their energy, compassion and dedication to make extreme metal is absolutely remarkable. It’s been over five years since we last heard anything from this band and also marks the longest gap in Arkaik’s catalog. Now signed with The Artisan Era, Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts is the sixth full-length recording prior to 2017’s Nemethia which was my first introduction to the band and thought it was a perfect blend of technical death metal and also incorporating progressive structures was surely met with great expectations.
Now fast forward to this new album, it follows up directly after Nemethia but for this album, their consistency to portray records about a series discussing meditative science fiction conceptualized albums such as 2012’s Metamorphignition is no different compared to past releases both lyrically and musically. There’s some symphonic undercurrents that are traveling through the tech-death scene at the moment, as well as incorporating more high screams into the band’s overall sound, which is fitting given that much of this album has its foot on the high-speed accelerator this time around, a marked difference from its chuggier, more technical side of Nemethia. Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts does its best to hybrid the two sensibilities, the aural and technical assault of songs such as Wayward Opulence, Eminence Emergence, Abode of the Deceiver and Broken Glass Apotheum for example the members from Arkaik may have unleashed its most focused and frenetic material to date.
Arkaik one of the flag bearers for the current brand of tech-death under The Artisan Era label for quite sometime as they function in a bright signal flare role as well, because it seems like Arkaik’s writing style comes to rest right on the pulse of their current scene. They are able to pinpoint exactly where it is traveling next so as to perfectly line up with it. They absorb so much into their sound that it’s not just the usual wall of notes over relentless blasts but instead has become this almost perfectly spherical mass that has an obsession with the introspective concept behind their last album Nemethia. Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts features the most matured, atmospheric and engaging albums in the band’s career. And if you’re a technical death metal fan, Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts is a masterful addition for another technical death metal masterpiece that is the band’s best material in years.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Jake Butler