Check Into Arkhum’s Asylum

If you’ve ever uttered the words “turn that noise off,” go ahead and stop reading now. If you have any doubt about whether or not you like metal music (and I’m not talking about your older brother Todd’s Van Halen records), and if you don’t align yourself with the hardest of hardcore metal heads — there’s nothing for you here, just move along. OK, am I alone with the true thrashers now? Good.

Eugene’s Arkhum recorded their second full-length album Earthling locally at guitarist/vocalist Stephen Parker’s Wilderness Studios.  Parker — who sounds a bit like a hog rooting in slop on Arkhum’s track “Obsolescent Husk” — explores science fiction themes over grindcore, speed metal, doom and even a little bit of good old Metallica in the song “Bloodgutter Encircling.” Now, I might not normally describe a vocalist with the phrase “hog rooting in slop” but I’m pretty certain it’s the effect Arkhum is aiming for.  The band themselves use the word “catarrhinian” to describe themselves on their ReverbNation page — defined as: “of or related to Old World monkeys that have nostrils together and opening downward” (look it up, I did.) Anyway, that’s sort of what Arkhum sounds like — monkeys with their nostrils together and opening downward, which is pretty badass, if that’s what you’re into. This all fits into their love of sci-fi, or as Parker puts it: “Whether we’re exploring the insignificance of this planet as seen from another being’s eyes, or just simply talking about the mass retardation of Americans by means of a biological weapon, it’s all science fiction.”

Joining Arkhum at the Jan. 18 album release party are local metal next-wave acts Facing Extinction, Dimensionless (self-described as that “unpleasant noise emitting from Eugene”) and Portland/Eugene trio Lord. Lord exists in that middle ground where indie and metal meet called math rock — instrumentals and off time signatures mixing with the density of experimental jazz and the shredding virtuosity of metal. Like Arkhum, and the rest of the bands on the WOW Hall bill, Lord can really play — so cowboy up metalhead, the WOW Hall’s about to get scary.

Arkhum celebrates the release of their new album 8 pm Friday, Jan. 18, at WOW Hall; $5 adv., $8 door.

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