Heads up, Angry Metal Explorers! Today we’re taking a magic carpet ride to a whole not-so-new world, a faraway place where the caravan camels roam. We’re going (going, back back) to Israel. Israel. Not exactly a land lauded for its black metal scene, but here we are, gathering our courage to sneak a glimpse at a trve monster born of death metal dreams in blackened Arabian nights. They call this beast Arallu, and we would do well to avoid letting it sneak up on us with its latest weapon, Six. Knowledge is power, yo, so let’s get our learn on.

Like anywhere, Israel isn’t completely devoid of metal, hiding such diamonds as Azazel and Melechesh in the rough sands of the underground. In fact, Encyclopaedia Metallum lists over 250 bands as hailing from there, but with roughly half of them disbanded and the rest nailed to obscurity, the place isn’t exactly Poland. With the bands 6th offering, however, Arallu may put their homeland one jump ahead of the evil game. They’ve been doing their blackened deathy thing since ’98, and a recent perusal of their discography revealed that the talent has always been there, particularly evident on 2015’s Geniewar. Back then, Arallu were simply savage. 2 years later, these guys have whipped themselves into something downright barbaric, like cut-off-your-ear-if-they-don’t-like-your-face barbaric.  We’ll hope it doesn’t come to that, but if I’m too late with my warning, here’s what you’re missing (y’know, besides an ear).

Categorizing Arallu isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but ‘Middle Eastern blackened death’ does the trick. Sometimes they sound as if Woe had spent one thousand and one nights in Agrabah, or Behemoth if they brushed up on their Sunday salaam. Tracks such as “Only One Truth” and “Possessed by the Sleep” tell such tales, while “Philosophers” might be a cooler God Dethroned track than anything the de-seaters of deities have done themselves since Passiondale. The band always sounds very much like their own kind of monster, though, and much of that credit goes to vocalist/bassist Butchered’s feral screams and Eylon Bart’s generous application of saz and darbuka to the misanthropic mix. The native instruments lend a balanced tinge of Eastern flavor to an already tasty recipe, but Butchered’s vocals take the cake and do unspeakable things to it with a forceful brutality that any fan of death will surely admire. Escalating from Nergal-on-PCP rage to Maladie levels of torture at times, the vocal performance is as trve as they come, and much of Six’s strength stems from said screams.

There’s no question this Arallu’s alluring, and much of what keeps it from ever being ordinary or boring comes from the band knowing when to move from one spectacular coterie to another. “Possessed by the Sleep,” for example, greets us with an eerie Eastern intro before guitarists Pixel and Omri Yagen lug some chug along a Chimaira-y groove, which then explodes into pure death metal glory while Butchered builds his barrage of brutality into a trvly unhinged black metal wail towards the end. Drummer Assaf Kassimov displays similarly excellent exploratory skills throughout the album’s 38ish minutes, gently maintaining the atmosphere with tribal drums one moment and double bass blast-beating with the best of them the next.

Everything about the album just plain impresses, but that’s not to say that it’s entirely without fault. Album closer “Soulless Soldier” houses both of my gripes, namely the comparative weakness of said song and its abrupt ending, which doubles as the end of the album. I wandered through the ol’ bazaar with bated breath and a compounding sense of nervous optimism as track after track roared by with teeth bared, which only made “Soulless Soldier” feel that much weaker when it arrived. One lackluster track after everything beforehand being as strong as ten songs is forgivable, but it’s the abrupt ending that really gets my camel1. Practically in the middle of a riff, and without so much as a ‘close sesame’ for warning, “Soulless Soldier” suddenly stops, somewhat sapping Six of its shining, shimmering splendor. A minor quibble, sure, but a quibble nonetheless.

All in all, this album is hotter than hot in a lot of good ways. The songwriting is superb, the music itself is killer, and with such heavy ammunition in their camp Arallu have proven themselves a barbaric force to be reckoned with. Six is a winner, a whiz, a wonder, and a trve testament to the Israeli black metal scene. Stop listening to silly Disney shit and check it out, already.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Websites: arallu.bandcamp.com |  facebook.com/arallu666
Releases Worldwide: September 22nd, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. Rookies don’t get camels. They OWE camels! – Steel
Tagged with →  
Share →
  • “The songwriting is superb, the music itself is killer, and with such heavy ammunition in their camp Arallu have proven themselves a barbaric force to be reckoned with. Six is a winner, a whiz, a wonder, and a trve testament to the Israeli black metal scene. Stop listening to silly Disney shit and check it out, already.” == 3.5?

    The defense would like to submit the following paragraph as exhibit A for the case that ratings really, really don’t matter.

    Enjoyed the review though!

    • Master of Muppets

      If the flow of the album wasn’t marred by the last track, and had said last track been more standout, it totally would have been a 4, but “when in doubt grade down” and all that.
      For what it’s worth, I’m also opposed to the rating element of any review. That’s where all the subjectivity and division rears its head since it’s inherently a biased conclusion, no matter how objective and fair any review itself may be. Beyond that, you people make it a fucking nightmare to ever assign higher than a 3.5 ;) There is no winning.
      Glad you liked the review, and hopefully you like the album as well, since it kicks ass no matter what rating it gets assigned.

      • h_f_m

        Agreed. The only thing that can happen is someone listen for themselves. No review or score is going to matter over your own opinion and how you feel about it, unless you’re just too impressionable. Music is too personal for you to be able to agree with every score and missive.

        • Master of Muppets

          Indeed. And I don’t dislike “Soulless Soldier”, I just find it to somewhat pale in comparison to the rest of the album, and the final track is no place to pull such moves. Again, though, at some point it’s all gonna come down to individual taste. I’m here to tell you what you’re gonna be listening to, not what to think about it.

          • h_f_m

            Exactly. I think for the most part when I see a 4-5 range review I can be assured that there is some higher level of competence and skill from performance to production involved and I end up at least respecting it if it isn’t my cup of tea. It’s the 2.5-3.5 reviews where I usually find the widest gap of agreement.

          • Master of Muppets

            Sounds about right. No matter how good a 3.5 is, there’s a certain zazz required for 4+ territory.

  • Levly

    I love Middle-eastern Metal in general and Melechesh in particular so this is right up my alley, something confirmed by the excellent embedded track. Thanks for the review, I’m now eager to get my hands on the record.

    • Master of Muppets

      Fun fact: I had preordered this several months ago, a blind buy based solely on the appeal of adding some Middle Eastern black metal to my vinyl collection. I may or may not have gone into schoolgirl hysterics when this got assigned to me, allowing me to hear it weeks in advance.
      Melechesh fuckin rule, glad to see more love for them.

      • Mathieu Villebrun

        I’m jacked that this excellent album made the cut for review. I’ve been listening to it for some time now thanks to a Russian torrent site and preordered the vinyl immediately!

    • VikingSchism

      If you ask me the scales that are used in middle-eastern style music just work quite well with metal. What was your opinion on Aeternam from a little while ago? They had some pretty nice middle-eastern melodies

      • Levly

        Of course Aeternam rules, I particularly love the first track on their last record.

        What I love about “Middle-eastern Metal” is how it runs the gamut from highly melodic and clean (Myrath) to the blackest Black Metal (Melechesh) to everything in between (Aeternam, Orphaned Land). And all of it is awesome. As you say, it must be some deep harmony between Metal and middle-eastern melodies and scales :).
        Orphaned Land remains the best band in the genre IMO, and ORwarriOR the standard to which all bands should aspire. Simply put, it’s my favorite record of all time, by my favorite Metal band altogether.

        • VikingSchism

          ORwarriOR is brilliant, I could guess you liked it by your profile picture. It’s definitely an album that I can just listen to if I want to spend an hour or so listening to good music.

    • Melechesh
      Aeternam
      Al-Namrood
      Orphaned Land
      Arkan
      Gilgamesh (Germany)
      Arallu
      Seeds of Iblis (anti-Islam black metal )

      Do you know other Middle Eastern/Mesopotamian extreme metal bands with oriental mood that do well?

      • Levly

        You could include The Order of Apollyon as well I think, their record from 2015 is quite good.

        Al-Namrood’s riffing is great, but their production used to be terrible and I really don’t like the vocals on their most recent record, so I’m lukewarm overall.
        I saw Arkan once live but wasn’t really convinced by the quality of their songwriting.
        I didn’t know Gilgamesh and Seeds of Iblis, will check them out.

        And Orphaned Land is the best band in the world, period.

        • Thank you!
          I’ve never noticed The Order of Apollyon as an Oriental band, but I realized they do have the influence!

          Al-Namrood was not a good band and I never liked them. However, their new album is the first album I started to like them for. It’s marvelous blend of punk-ish 1st wave black metal/ occult heavy metal and oriental melodies. As I understand it sounds silly, I enjoy the vocals performing like a mad and suspicious prophet.

      • Tofu muncher

        Narjahanam is great. They’re supposed to be active still, but I am still awaiting anything new from these guys.

        • Thank you! I didn’t know their name. I checked them on youtube after your comment. I like them. Tatsteful ethnic death metal with some beautiful melodies! I feel their high potential, and I start to wait for their new album, too!

          I visited their facebook, and they seem to be creating new music.

  • h_f_m

    Soulless Soldier almost sounded like a take on the Wherever I May Roam riff for a minute.

    This album is pretty good.

    • Master of Muppets

      I can totally see that, which would lend some clarity to my take on it feeling somewhat less inspired than the rest of Six

  • Septic

    There is another Middle-eastern metal band totally worth checking out by the name of Khepra. ‘Cosmology Divine’ was the first album I ever purchased from Bandcamp. Seems like Arallu is a must buy. Great review!

    • Master of Muppets

      I’ll check them out, thanks for the suggestion!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I’ll check them out too. I love the middle-eastern instruments/sounds in Metal (Orphaned Land, Nothing Lies Beyond, Melechesh). Like peanut butter and chocolate.

    • Javier McDrifter

      That Khepra album is really good

  • Gena Gorin

    I absolutely adore Melechesh, had bought their shirt recently, and this band sounds pretty good to me.

  • Mollusc

    Nice! Insert hump pun here.

  • Nate Sweet

    And with that I’m off to watch Alladin for the bazillienth time

    • Master of Muppets

      FINALLY
      How many did you catch?

      • Master of Muppets

        Also, damn you Steel for editing out “being from out there on the dunes”.

      • Nate Sweet

        I count six (if you mean references) goes to seven if I cheat and look one up though

        • Master of Muppets

          17, so not bad. A few were more subtle, but they’re there.

      • Levly

        Wow, I totally see them now. Nice job and excellent literary skills indeed, must have taken a lot of efforts to sneak in so many so well integrated.

        • Master of Muppets

          I swear I’m not bragging, but those came far more easily than you’d think. I just kept a tab with all the lyrics open and glanced over every so often, this shit basically just fell into place. I kind of expected some level of outrage, in all honesty.

  • Nukenado

    You should save the Alladin references if you could get a hand on Al-Namrood or when Myrath releases a new album.
    But hey, this is cool.

    • Master of Muppets

      I tell me what to do with my references, yo.

      • Nukenado

        (Jafar disapproval face)

        • Master of Muppets

          To quote some other Andrew, “I rule me”
          Also, I’m still gonna shoot you a list of shit to check out, but that’s an off the clock adventure. Sometime after I get home this morning I’ll put together a new soundtrack for your October.

          • Nukenado

            Looking forward to that, but it’s gonna to have to be pretty kickass to tear me away from Pacifisticuffs…

            DSO is the shit! But October, from what I can tell is going to be a storm of good releases. September and October always deliver the goods. Always.

          • Master of Muppets

            Going just with bands as opposed to specific albums, but as promised before I lapse into a coma:
            Unreqvited
            Heretoir
            Allochiria
            Gaoth
            Ancst
            None
            Nyss
            Cascades
            Mavradoxa

            If you don’t find something to love in all that goodness, then you failed, not me.
            Enjoy!

          • Nukenado

            Will explore once I get back frok school. Happy sleeping.

          • Nukenado

            I just sat through Kitsunebi’s nine minutes and thirty seconds. What the fuck. This is super good.
            The rest better be good enough to pull me away.

            I know Ancst, but the crustiness makes me a bit uneasy.

          • Nukenado

            Fucking Unreqvited…
            I have no idea why the guy calls himself “oni” but it’s super dope.

          • Nukenado

            Heretoir’s fucking lyrics, man. I’m in high school but it’s making me contemplate mortality.

          • Master of Muppets

            You’re never too young to remember that you’re going to die.

          • Nukenado

            Hey, “young” is subjective and lacking in hindsight ;)

          • Master of Muppets

            If I were arbitrarily labeling you as such and with preconceived biases about youth, sure. Young does have a definition aside from the points you are bringing up, though, and 17 totally equals young.
            I, however, just stated a fact, yo.

          • Nukenado

            Nope, I meant that nobody knows will I live 90 more years or 2. I’m not foolish enough to call myself mature.
            And you guessed wrong. I’m 16. (Hah!)

          • Master of Muppets

            I could have sworn you said you were 17, I hadn’t thought myself to be guessing. And I feel ya, I’m on a less intricate part of the same page. I actually have Memento Mori on my right forearm. Bottom line though, for I shan’t be swayed, in regards to your relative developmental state to the projected lifetime of your species, you be young yo.

          • Nukenado

            Hah, true.

          • Nukenado

            My parents for some reason are extremely against hair dye and tattoos. I’ve been thinking about tattoos, but ultimately I decided that “I’ll probably be bored with it and it’ll be a pain to remove.”
            I would like a snappy motto on some part of my body though.

          • Mathieu Villebrun

            Ancst is fucking godly!

          • Nukenado

            Hmm, Ancst’s vocals still bug me. Mavradoxa’s mix is a bit too dirty for my tastes. Nyss’s self-titled is waaaayyyy too lo-fi for me to listen properly, but I’m having fun with their EPs.
            Everything else I’m enjoying though. Especially Unreqvited and Heretoir. Gaoth is also fucking excellent.

          • Master of Muppets

            The newest Nyss is unfuckwithable, and I figured Heretoir and Unreqvited would go over well.

          • Nukenado

            The second EP?

          • Master of Muppets

            Sisterre

          • Nukenado

            I assume you mean Princesse Terre… Because that sounds good. The riff after the spoken word in “I” forcefully propelled my head against my will.

            Pretty hard to do considering I was just seconds ago neglecting my studies and raising my pen as a sword while blasting Galneryus.

          • Master of Muppets

            Yeah, that. Working and trying to remember metal info doesn’t always mix well.

          • Nukenado

            The “Ah! Ah! Ah!”s around 3:20 are great.

          • Nukenado

            9:24 Tastful strings on “II”. This is indeed unfuckwithable. Wow.

  • SuzyC

    Off topic, but I owe a debt of gratitude to whomever it was mentioned Kauan in some previous comments section a day or two ago. Freekin great.

    • Master of Muppets

      Same, actually.

  • Jeremy Freeman

    Sounds more like a darker Soulfly. :)

    • Master of Muppets

      I can somewhat see that in the drums, I suppose, but if I’m being honest I can’t remember caring about any kind of Soulfly in a minute.
      This shit right here, though… I fucks with it.

  • lennymccall

    Put this on to check it out and blazed through the whole album twice. LOVE this! So damn interesting and dynamic it just kept me right there into it the whole time.