Adarrak - Ex Oriente Lux

The debut release from Singapore based death metal group Adarrak is something to get excited about. A very solid death metal record with lots of melodic influences and technical touches with sprinkles of romantic doom moments there is a lot to enjoy here. “Ex Oriente Lux” is a bit of a roller coaster ride that will keep listeners guessing all throughout, but not so wild it seems haphazard. The opening ‘Final Ethos Demise’ is about as solid as one can get with death metal but when the guitar solos hit one can really tell there is a lot of melody involved, sounding a bit like Kataklysm with the rhythms and the tone of the growls. The blast beats pummel like jack hammers but not to the point of being repetitively boring (‘Bereft’ is a great example of this). The drums keep up with everything while keeping the beats varied especially during the rather keyboard sounding solos (such as on ‘Withering.’). Each track brings a dynamic influence with the instruments.

The vocals of course are the focal point. While a lot of death metal bands tend to showcase the one sided growl to carry the weight, Adarrak uses quite a mix. Some are the typical death bellow such as on ‘Final Ethos…’ which sounds like a mix of Kataklysm and Amon Amarth. But then there are cleaner vocals such as on ‘Into The Abyss.’ The group even goes for the spoken dramatics, much like a group such as My Dying Bride has done on and album like “Songs of Darkness, Words of Light.” While not as romantically depressing, Adarrak use the doom laden touches to convey quite a bit of harrowing emotion, like predicting the end of the world. It is a bit more effective than the more dramatic clean vocals which some might take as a bit overdone. Thankfully, the vocals do not overuse any particular part too much. For those who feel that the spoken word/ cleaner vocal touches take away from the brutality of the music, a track like ‘Beneath the Vault of the World’ use them sparingly and feature some of the faster aggressive rhythms and riffs, especially with the guitar solo parts.

For the most technical aspects of what Adarrak can do, the closing instrumental ‘Fire Will Cleanse’ is groovy, dramatic, and features some of the darkest melodies the group has to offer. From the blistering opening to the darkly melodic solo that might remind fans of Chimaira, there is a lot of love here. Most death metal fans will enjoy it simply for the riffs, but those who enjoy mixes of melodic metal will find the clean vocal elements attractive too. And anyone who likes melodic solos that don’t sound too keyboard like and have dark overtones will also enjoy this. Certainly for fans of groups like Kataklysm or other melodic death groups will find the most similarities in Adarrak. But, “Ex Oriente Lux” is certainly unique in its own way, standing above the average death metal album that is released these days.

4 / 5 STARS

1. Final Ethos Demise
2. Into The Abyss
3. Mettle
4. Bereft (feat. Marty Friedman)
5. Withering
6. Through The Fabric Of Time
7. Beneath The Vault Of The World
8. Fire Will Cleanse