Review by Alex on December 6, 2020.
Here's another fantastic melodic death metal band that you'll enjoy. Arawn hailing from Czechia have proceeded to stun the masses and repair some of the damage done to the genre with their album Odkazy Doby. This genre has been sitting on a very embarrassing position for quite some-time now with mediocrity being promoted as the norm and good bands being overshadowed by shitty major label bands. However, there are bands in the underground of things that have a clear understanding of how the genre should operate and how to create music that is loyal to the quality of old and there are labels willing to promote their material such as Slovak Metal Army that will be handling the album release come December 24th, 2020.
On Odkazy Doby 'Z/N/P' starts out as mainly a thrash metal song with thunderous riffs and drumming directing the flow of the song for the most part until a melodic beauty takes the wheel for a while towards the closing. For most of the time I had been questioning when this would appear but to have it announce itself so suddenly and unexpectedly felt great. That's one thing a lot of melodic death metal lack, some sort of unpredictability. Insted going for very foreseeable and predictable writing and song structures that eventually make their albums a bore to listen to. Arawn on the other hand surprises the listener towards the end and keeps that melodic flow to introduce you to 'Mozkomor' that has a bit more dynamism within the composition of the song thus aiding the musical texture and pallet of Odkazy Doby. This song is very catchy and has lots of transitions, drum patterns, pacings and guitar harmonies to engage in.
As though that had not been good enough, Arawn placed a melancholic black metal blanket over the melodic playing field with an introductory tremolo riffing segment that bleeds into the latter melodic death metal portions of 'Zachymov'. And likewise, this track too features quite a bit of dynamism as it pulls and tugs at the attention of the listener. You'll find this happening a lot with songs later down the order such as 'Pohan' that utilizes a sort of progressive metal opening that builds its influence in the song all the while dive-bombing into melodic thrashing mid paced territory. It's one of the longer tracks on Odkazy Doby but there's enough great moments to sink your ears into hence there's no stagnating at any point in time.
What Arawn does with great efficacy is give you something that makes you fall in love with any given track but they also keep you on the lookout for more of it. And instead of showing you where the path is to that meaty melodic goodness, they hide it in the many instrumental changes and movements so they appear as a surprise rather than being a default expectation. 'Hlasy z Tartaru' has a riff on it around the 1:57 mark that reminds me of something I recall hearing on an Inquisition (Colombia) album if I'm correct. That in itself was a major surprise and moment of enjoyment as it also reappears and becomes a main highlight and factor of the song. Arawn really knows how to keep the momentum with memorable music throughout the entirety of 'Hlasy z Tartaru' and really feels like this material was written by veterans of old.
You get more amazing melodic tunes heading down to the closing moments with 'Ragnarok', 'Dívej, venku už svítá and 'Křížů' sweeping you off your feet with perhaps 3 of the best songs on Odkazy Doby vigorously competing with entries up the order with 'Ragnarok' sounding like something Amon Amarth would have written 15 years ago. Absolutely phenomenal track, lots of twists and turns keeping you on your toes and guessing all the way through. These guys have it all, the drumming, the riffs, the vocals that go between a thrash metal snarl and a slight growl and the production to capture it all flawlessly. With Odkazy Doby Arawn is definitely reconfiguring the genre to the coordinates of the past all the while repairing the holes and erasing the mediocrity which has plagued the genre.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10495