Album Review – Arkaea “Years in the Darkness” 2009

Let’s face it, this album is tainted by its associations. The band contains two founding members of Fear Factory and two others from the better FF clone Threat Signal (sorry, Divine Heresy, but it’s true). They’ve even admitted that half these songs were meant for the FF reunion. However, we must move on, children – Fear Factory love you very much but they can’t be together anymore. It’s not your fault, and you can still visit them in the past or hang out with cousin Mnemic. 

Arkaea and Strapping Young Factory now have joint custody of the industrial speed metal pocket genre. Which one is Daddy? Will either one rise to the Sabbath II position of step-band? We’ll have to wait for Mechanize in 2010 to judge Dino and Burt, and deal with Years in the Darkness first. 

Meh, it’s all right. Threat Signal with better drumming. Jon Howard can turn the harsh/clean on a dime, but that’s his only trick. There’s little variety or passion in the delivery or the timing. Opener “Locust” and the title track show definite chops but little spirit. I knew they were in trouble when I found myself concentrating on Raymond Herrera to the exclusion of all else; he’s drumming like a fiend, bashing the skins faster than ever in an attempt to go back in time and stop Transgression from happening. 

It may not be fair to pin Threat Signal’s failings on Arkaea, but, well, I am. I’ve always been waiting for TS to show me something better or take it to the next level, and if these guys can’t do it with Herrera’s help maybe they just can’t do it. I haven’t heard the new Divine Heresy yet, but I may owe them an apology. 

Years in the Darkness isn’t a bad record, it just has more value in its ability to add a curio to your complete Fear Factory collection than as a visceral listening experience. More consolation prize than side project. 6 out of 10

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