By Greg Pratt
There's cocky and there's confident. No one likes to hear band guys be cocky, but it is refreshing to hear some genuine confidence. And when the music you're releasing is as excellent as that of Virginia's IKKADIAN, the confidence is understandable.
“I’ve never been as confident in any music project I’ve ever been a part of,” says Ikkadian drummer Michael Arcane about the band's debut album, Of Alpha And Omega. “I listen to this album over and over, and there’s no doubt in my mind: I know this album is good. Maybe that sounds cocky, but to me it’s not. It’s just a fact.”
But while I say the supremely good blackened death on Of Alpha And Omega warrants confidence to such a level that indeed it might seem cocky, not every member of the band is so sure. John Cornnell, who handled both guitar and bass on the album, says that despite the solid end result, the recording process was a bit more unsure for him.
“Confidence may be a far stretch, at least to me,” he says. “Personally I had no idea how this would turn out, so I generally just did the best I could and tried to maintain cool composure and confidence while laying down the guitar and bass tracks.”
Arcane says that the album's relaxed, dominating sound—no small feat for a death metal band on their debut—comes from the fact that Cornnell and himself met in another band, who he won't name, who were dominated by a “leader” who gave no room for creativity. So once they bust out of that situation, the death metal just spilled out of them.
“When John and I quit together and decided to form Ikkadian, we were like caged animals breaking out,” says Arcane. “I think that’s where the confidence came from. And when we sat there and looked at the core of material we'd come up with, we took a pause and said, 'No, we have to make this perfect.' You say there is confidence in the material, but, in a way, we were slaves to it.”
“The songs 'Alpha' and 'Omega' are the perfect example,” he continues. “The music is too good to treat lightly. We were both scared to death of those two songs, and we recorded everything for them last, because of how intimidating they were. The music was confident; I think we were just hoping to do it justice.”
The album is a concept disc (wait, keep reading!) about, in Arcane's words, “claiming your own power and strength.” He says it's a positive album, one that counters the negative aspects of certain metallic subgenres. He points to a song like “Lambs Before Lions,” saying it's about if people turn their back on the truth, they choose to be a lamb, not a lion, and the lions will use them, and will rule them.
“That’s what I don’t get about whiny nu metal,” says Arcane, “crying about how life sucks and people suck, and humanity is some kind of virus or plague. Fuck that. Life is awesome if you choose to make it so. Humans are the alpha predator, the top of the pyramid; our power is limitless. If you want to believe people are shit and call yourself a maggot, knock yourself out. I am a lion. Our fans are lions. We know the way forward is to carve your own path through life; no one will give it to us, we must take for ourselves what we desire. And we will.”