After listening to Alrakis (from the Arabic name for Mu Draconis) I have to ask myself a very important question. How have I not heard of and listened to Space Metal? There is an entire genre, with an offshoot called Cosmic Black Metal, whose lyrical composition mainly focuses on stars, space travel, and the universe. As a huge (and I mean HUGE) fan of Star Trek I was quite giddy at the idea that there was an entire genre of metal devoted this. That being said I have to berate myself for not having found out about this sooner. The only reason I found out about Alrakis in the first place was by recommendation from a friend, which by the way is the best way of finding new music, bands, and albums outside so connect with as many metalheads as you can to expand your musical horizons.
Anyways back to the review. Alrakis is bloody brilliant! I have not heard such crushing brilliance in a black metal album since Dissection’s “Storm of the Light’s Bane.” From the first few moments, the album, and the band, grabbed me and took me on a journey. Alrakis uses more than just black metal to fuel his exploration of the stars, he uses dark and industrial ambient and soundscapes to create a full picture of the universe as it is unfolding before the listener. Just to review this album I’ve listened to it at least half a dozen times. The music is more relaxing and calming than those nature sounds CDs and more exhilarating than a Hans Zimmer soundtrack. He manages to combine so many elements into each song, and he does it so seamlessly that it was hard for me to register the transition from black metal to ambient and back to black metal.
The highest compliment I think I can give Alpha Eri (Alpha Eridanus the brightest star in the constellation Eridanus for non-astronomers) is that this album makes me want to start up my “Wild Expanse” story again. Whether or not that will happen is another story, but the music in Alpha Eri stirs something inside my creative genes and makes me want to create vast new worlds for this music to fill.
I could not recommend this album or this band more, it goes beyond must listen. Easily, Alpha Eri has fit itself nicely into my top ten albums of all time. Listen and get ready to explore a vast, dark universe.
Listen and support!