Album Review: Spit On Your Grave – Arkanum

Album Review: Spit On Your Grave - Arkanum
Reviewed by Drew McCarthy

In all the years that I have been a fan of metal, I am pretty sure that I have never known a death metal band make a concept album, but that is exactly what Spit On Your Grave have delivered with their latest offering. 'Arkanum'. This album by these Mexican metalheads is a masterclass in brutality and melody and conceptualises a journey that is inspired by the nine major Arcana tarot cards.

The opening song on Arkanum is 'The Infection', a song that really captures the basic vibe of the whole album perfectly, a combination of very aggressive and heavy riffs coupled with intelligent lyrics coming from The Magician tarot card, which represents, manipulation and power. Songs such as 'Into The Devil’s Realm' and 'Dark Lullaby' lend their own unique contribution to the main themes of Arkanum, which seem to be self discovery and confrontation with demons, the band seem to of found a perfect balance between both vicious musicianship and intricate melody.

Arkanum delves into the myriad elements of the human experience, covering such broad topics as manipulation, inner turmoil and the struggle that everyone has dealt with at one time or another, finding their own self worth. The clever thing about Spit On Your Grave connecting each song on the album with a tarot card, is it allows the band in some way to explore a narrative that stretches through all human feelings and experiences, from the first song to the last song, forge forth from darkness to enlightenment and chaos to clarity.

Album Review: Spit On Your Grave - Arkanum

One of the major things that stuck out on 'Arkanum', was the depth found within the lyrics of the songs, giving the listener a rich tapestry of narratives that have resonance at a deeply personal level. 'The Heretic', a song inspired by The Tower tarot card, displays the belief system in disintegration. 'Self Sacrifice' relative to The Hanged Man, is an incarnation of a cathartic journey at its peak, the metaphor for the new self. The penultimate song on the album is 'The March Of The Innocents', which takes inspiration from The Justice tarot card, an incredibly bitter sounding, but also poignant song that lies in stark contrast to the title of it and may make the listener question the whole concept of justice and forgiveness.

'Arkanum' is not just a collection of songs, Spit On Your Grave have made an incredibly bold statement with this album, which dares to be different to what people would generally expect from a death metal band, this album is not just a collection of songs, but an incredibly ambitious and complex journey to the darkest reaches of the human soul. Thus giving anyone that listens to Arkanum both catharsis and serious reflection, with an amazing and original concept, complex compositions and honest, raw emotional power, Arkanum is a perfect album for any metal fan, that is interested in both the mystical and the macabre.

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