Arkanum is the debut from this Icelandic/Italian trio, featuring members from Dark Legacy. The EP’s five tracks quickly launch into their tech-death efforts, with all the growls, blast-beats, and twisting guitar riffs you’d expect, though they thankfully take a low-arpeggio route.
After “Abaddon” sets things up, “Tomb of Sa’ir” ducks in with a quick intro that sounds like it was put together on a keyboard’s harpsichord voice setting. This adds an interesting touch of flavor before they throw themselves back into the standard style. There is another bit of fun in that track from a sample that will amuse Tim Curry fans, something that, along with a bridge of stripped-down guitar noodling, helps the song stand out as one of the more promising pieces of the EP.
All over the album the guitarist does a good job of making things seem lively, with both broad and quick playing offering enough stomp and swing to keep from dragging. The drummer, though he keeps up with everything well enough, seems somewhat hampered by the song-writing, coming across as a background thumping even at his most explosive moments. On the other hand, when the drumming is pared down to more irregular beats (usually in cymbal-heavy sections), his presence emerges as more influential on the songs.
Spouting off lines about “the end of creation,” “deceivers,” and similar subjects, the vocals seem content to sick with tech-death’s usual contrast of near-monotone growling against the complexity of the other instruments. It’s the way things go, I guess, but that doesn’t stop it from seeming like a wasted chance to play with the balance or expectations, at least a little.
Although the EP sounds like the band is still trying to feel things out, there is a lot of promising material here. Once Cult of Lilith start establishing some more of their own character (maybe doing something to address the themes of their name with some female-voiced back-up, chanting, or just more apocalyptic samples), there should be more reason to check in on them; for now, aside from a handful of neat touches, they come off as pretty average for their chosen style.