Arkangela – Tempus Deserta
Arkangela is a four-piece heavy metal band formed in 2014. Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, they have wild variations in their sound, crossing from heavy to nu to melodic to modern metal with ease. The music is over-the-top in all the best ways, and the vocals are dramatic, going from subdued melancholy to overt anger, ranging from clean to gritty to harsh. The lyrics, and by extension the vocals, craft an emotional statement further supported by the instruments wrapped lovingly around them. Get ready to feel this one as much as hear it.
- Ryan Beck – Vocals
- Louie C. Granados – Guitars
- Roman Ryliee – Bass
- Gabriel Osborn – Drums
Released on May 20, 2021, during the height of the pandemic that shattered the music scene for two whole years, Tempus Deserta is a 12-track album full of anthemic songs geared towards making the listener think and feel everything the band is putting out. They pour their hearts out and turn that into an absolutely killer record. This record will beat you out of the forced lethargy that happened to many during the social chaos that was 2020-present.
- Fact Of Life
- Take It To Your Grave
- C’est La Vie (Leave It Be)
- Ride Or Die
- Hate To Hold Onto
- Kill Your Self
The record opens with a suspenseful, creepy introduction to the song “Redefine.” When the music kicks in, there is nothing eerie about it. This is a straightforward banger with a heavy guitar riff and pounding rhythm. The vocals are harsh and layered into a dark, symphonic sound, built up to increase the feelings of dread. The guitar solo is pretty short but powerful and beautifully fits into the overall composition. This is a great opening song and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
“Fact Of Life” is another blazing song. The shifts from heavy to melodic, all in a nu-metal style, really work well. The muted lead work throughout this song gives it a different feel than the last song. There is more to this one, and I love how it works with the riff. The rhythm is again just bombastic. The drum work is exquisite, and the bass is phenomenal. These guys create unique textures within the song, giving a little more than just a standard song. They take the time to craft something that has a little extra punch.
For something very different but not out of character, we head for “C’est La Vie (Leave It Be).” This is more than just a power ballad. It is bigger than a ballad but has all the emotion you would expect from one. The melodic sections offset the heaviness in both tone and tempo. The tempo changes are pretty extreme, showing the breadth of the talent Arkangela has for both songwriting and skill with their instruments. Ryan nails the vocals, going from clean to harsh and subdued to belting in ways that show he is one of the best new vocalists on the scene.
“Ride Or Die” is all attitude. The guitars are crushingly heavy, and the vocals are dark, gritty, and fast. The drums are on another level, and the bass is completely on fire. This is heavy enough to compete with Slipknot or Lamb Of God without sounding like either. The clean vocals are on a different level than Randy or Corey’s.
More rage is next. “Hate To Hold On To” feels pretty personal. It’s like the writer of this one was not quite willing to give up on the anger fueling this composition. I’ve had a few angry stretches in life, nursing a massive grudge because it kind of felt good. Maybe that is not what they meant, but that is what I heard. Sometimes I miss those days of rage, but I cannot afford to live in that as long as I used to without getting self-destructive. I like that I get do to live this vicariously through the song.
Both “Virality” and “Kill Your Self” have killer hooks that power the songs with more aggression and hatred. The extreme emotion behind the music is reflected in the vocals. I really love the harmonizing done in the middle of “Kill Your Self.” Those layers of voices are amazing, especially when you consider the tones they are using. The harshness and grittiness of the voices in those harmonies are surprising in some ways. Most harmonies are meant to accentuate voices coming together cleanly, but here they add an extra layer of angst to the tones.
“Confession” continues the trend of the previous few songs. Heavy guitars and high-powered, screamed vocals over a punishing rhythm. Then “Hollow” happens. The melodic intro with the subdued guitars and the raving vocals hovering under the music is scary and eerie but intriguing. The song keeps building for a bit, getting progressively heavier, until that anticipated drop back into heavy melodic. This song feels like someone is going crazy and losing what makes them whole, leaving them empty and hollow.
The piano intro on “Weightless” is so different from the rest of the album that it caught my attention. It beautifully set the tone for the melodic guitar work of the following phrase. The slower tempo for the first minute of the song is fantastically done. These guys aren’t just a heavy band; they can shift into lower gears and maintain their identity.
Wrapping the album up is “Goodbye.” Another excellent intro with a single guitar that shifts tone and then joins up with a bit of lead guitar work. This is the softer side of Arkangela, sticking closer to ballad tone and tempo. This song is hard rock, not metal. It’s well-executed, showing the range of the band and giving you a better clue into some of their different influences.
Arkangela mixes the vibes of classic rock with the energy and vigor of the heavier segments of metal. You hear extreme metal, nu-metal, hard rock, and screamo in a beautiful mash-up. They have the proper mix to all of it, creating a fantastic chaos that blows the lid off most of what you hear from the old guys these days. This is the new generation of metal that takes no prisoners and refuses to apologize for knocking you on your ass. They are brutal and heavy and throw in just the right amount of melodic to round out the sound and leave you wanting more.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.20