Karkaos
Children of the Void
(Self-Release)

Thanks to Nightwish and Arch Enemy, musicians around the world figured out that female vocalists and power/melodeath go together like Maryland crabs and beer (or cheese and wine for the rest of the world). In fact, there are a few of these groups in Canada, where they put their cheese on top of fries and gravy. Unleash The Archers have become the standard bearer ever since The Agonist left their bombastic past behind. However, Karkaos, fresh off some member shuffling are here to satiate the appetites for those who like their melodeath big, meaty, and just a little cheesy (OK, maybe I’m hungry).

Interestingly, new vocalist Viky Boyer has a powerful and multi-faceted voice that sounds like a more angelic version of former The Agonist (and current Arch Enemy) singer Alissa White-Gluz. Boyer’s harsh vocals are powerful and carry a good bit of range, but she really shines when her impressive clean vocals are put to use. There are a number of instances when she belts over sweeping guitar solos, and those are really impressive and memorable moments (I wish bands did that more, actually).

Karkaos’ music is equally multi-layered. They play a somewhat boisterous form of symphonic power-tinged melodeath, not all that different than Arch Enemy, mid-career The Agonist, with doses of Epica. However, the band certainly know how to lean on the riffs and deliver a mighty dose of melodic heaviness (“Tyrants” and “Lightbringer” come to mind). Unlike lesser female-fronted metal groups, Children of the Void isn’t just a showcase for an impressive set of pipes. The music on the band’s second record is engaging, impressive, and occasionally surprising. Parts of “Tyrants” sound like something from Septicflesh more than Arch Enemy, and the band pull off that extra dose of death metal grit very well.

There is always a lot going on with these songs, multiple vocal, guitar, and symphonic melodies play off each other and build up to swelling conclusions. Repeat spins are quite rewarding, but the feeling that this is densely orchestrated music still permeates (this is a good thing). Karkaos have released a fantastic record that will surely appeal to anyone looking for top-tier melodeath or symphonic metal. It’s hooky and slightly progressive, but Children of the Void is constantly entertaining.

Purchase the album here.

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