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Another California technical death metal band? Great. There's a new one every day. Arkaik are pretty much every band that you've heard before, but they execute what has become cliché very well. Reflections Within Dissonance has a bit more aggression than the most recent efforts by Arkaik's peers and is ultimately more interesting because of it.
One way to describe Reflections Within Dissonance is to look at the album art and list what you see. A myriad of colors, skulls, dead trees, and other phenomena all thrown together in some sort of bizarre collage of destructive sonic force. The album starts with the title track and moves into “Paradigm,” blasting the listener with wave after wave of violent sound. “Womb Of Perception” begins with a hyperfast riff and has a nice bassline set to it. After the eerie vocals (or is that a sample?) at the end of “The Divine Manifestation,” it breaks into a roaring vocal section that starts the second half of the album. Despite some of the earlier songs running together, I found myself actually headbanging to the latter half of the album. Tracks like “Malignant Ignorance” which begins with a bunch of fills and the bass intro on “Elegy Of The Disillusioned” are a bit more fun than their sheer speed counterparts on the first half of the album.
The album concludes with a slower track that obviously must speed up halfway through (after all this is Californian tech death). There's an interesting bit halfway through where the song is reduced to mere drum and vocals with some intermittent chugging going on. Reflections Within Dissonance, unlike it's peers, doesn't rely on the neo-classical solos when it comes to songwriting, which I feel is one of Arkaik's strongest points. After the hundredth hammer-on and sweep picking blast-a-thon I tend to get tired of such ventures. Although it blends together at times and sounds like just about every other technical death metal album from California, the way Reflections Within Dissonance is executed with such aggression really makes its appeal much more lasting.