Arkata The Real Issue is Where Are The Sluts and How Do We Get There?

It takes a lot of balls (and ovaries, in this case) for a relatively unknown, independent act to call a release something this comical and expect anyone to take them even remotely seriously. Luckily, Arkata more than make up for a questionable sense of album title humour with tremendous metallic damage that shatters any impressions that they’re a joke band. Musically, Arkata are as serious as a heart attack, building on the foreboding, sometimes overly clinical sounds of Impeding Your Chances of Success. Still present and scathing is singer Jillian’s blackened vocal abuse, curdling the blood in the veins, but with The Real Issue more emphasis has been placed on Arkata’s musical evolution, even as the increased back-up vocals and trade-offs make the vocal abuse easier to swallow. While still offering insistent mid-paced metallic harm, increased focus is placed on songwriting and structure, giving greater room to the intricate, off-time and unorthodox-sounding tracks. Also included are more sombre melodic moments of repentance. To their credit, Arkata’s avant metallic/hardcore melding is a difficult one to pigeonhole (even as it flits around the tip of your tongue), although some riffs are reminiscent of slowed down Converge flailing or Bloodlet’s pervasive crawl. There’s also a strange undercurrent of emo-ness beneath the heavy, claustrophobic tide that further challenges the listener to define them. The real issue isn’t if Arkata will be scooped up by a label but when. (Independent)