Music / Arkaik

Arkaik is an American technical death metal act from Riverside County, California. While initially a technical brutal death act, personal evolution and a lineup change led to their taking a new direction as a fusion-tinged progressive death metal act, gaining a not-small amount of praise and putting them in position to become another major player in the death metal game.

Formed in 2004 by Jared Christianson (vocals) and Chance Strickland (guitars), the lineup quickly expanded to include Craig Peters (lead guitar, backing vocals). Several bassists and a multitude of drummers came and went before Eric Cohen and Keith Roylance finally settled in to the respective roles. It was at some point during the many lineup changes where the band released a promo and full-length demo before inking a deal with the well-known indie label Unique Leader Records in 2009, soon following with a proper full-length debut in the form of Reflections Within Dissonance the following year. That same year brought with it their first US tour, as well as Cohen's subsequent departure and the entrance of his replacement, Ivan Munguia. Roylance then left the year after that, with his replacement coming in the form of drum wunderkind Alex Bent. 2012 proved to be their breakthrough year thanks to both a high-profile tour with Cannibal Corpse, Exhumed, and Abysmal Dawn and the release of their second album, Metamorphignition, which was released to much fanfare and critical praise. After a tour supporting Six Feet Under was cancelled, they wound up embarking on several smaller West Coast tours instead. As of 2014, Peters and Strickland have both left, with Miguel Esparza and Greg Paulson taking their place, though Strickland has stated that he intends to continue to work with them in some fashion. Lucid Dawn, their third full-length, will drop on October 30, 2015. As of 2017, Alex Bent was been hired on as the new drummer of Trivium, which forced him to leave completely. Gabe Seeber (The Kennedy Veil) did session drums on Nemethia, their fourth full-length, and Brandon Millan (The Last of Lucy) was hired on as their new full-time drummer shortly after recording had concluded (and bailed a few months later). After a very busy 2017 that included a great deal of touring, Greg Paulson decided to leave in March of 2018, citing what seemed to be general exhaustion and burnout. It is unknown who his replacement will be and if they will be full-time or not.


  • The Divine Manifestation (2006) - promo EP
  • Existential Chaos (2007) - full-length demo
  • Reflections Within Dissonance (2010)
  • Metamorphignition (2012)
  • Lucid Dawn (2015)
  • Nemethia (2017)

The band contains examples of the following tropes:
  • Afro Asskicker: Alex Bent is a rare Hispanic example.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Alex Bent is well-known for his manic, highly theatrical playing style and seemingly inexhaustible energy.
  • Ascended Extra: Adam Roethlisberger and Brandon Millan were supposed to be this, but wound up backing out. Cris Portugal is a straight example.
  • Bald of Awesome: Greg Paulson, at times.
  • Brutal Death Metal: Reflections and Nemethia, though the middle two never really lost it completely.
  • Concept Album: Metamorphignition kicked off the start of an ongoing saga of them.
  • Epic Rocking: "Temple Aflame" (15:48, though the actual music ends at 4:54 and segues into a sound collage) "The Omnipus" (10:07), "Order of the Hierogon" (9:33), "Opus Brahmanic" (6:17), and "Fleshwalkers" (6:10).
  • I Am the Band: Jared Christianson became this after Greg Paulson left.
  • Instrumentals: "Opus Brahmanic", minus the occasional chants.
  • Lead Bassist: Eric Cohen and Ivan Munguia have both been Type A examples.
  • Metal Scream: Jared is a Type 2, but added Type 3s to his repertoire circa Lucid Dawn.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard 10 on Reflections and Nemethia, soft 10 on Metamorphignition. Lucid Dawn sits in the middle of the two but tends to skew closer to a soft 10.
  • Motor Mouth: Jared is a frequent practitioner of this.
  • New Sound Album: Metamorphignition was a pretty major change from the heavily Deeds of Flesh-influenced debut to a very proggy, fusion-influenced sound, albeit one retaining most of their old brutal death sound.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: While bass has always played a very major role in their style, they have not had a full-time bassist for a while. Ivan Munguia stopped being able to play shows at some point in the mid-2010s, and while Adam Roethlisberger was supposed to become an Ascended Extra, his spotty availability forced him to go back to being a live-only member.
  • Not Christian Rock: Their pre-Metamorphignition material had vaguely spiritual lyrics that were misinterpreted as Christian despite actually being anti-religious on closer inspection thanks to various Biblical references.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Jared Christianson is only 5'5".
  • Progressive Metal: Heavily influenced by it on Metamorphignition.
  • Purple Prose: Common on their earlier material.
  • Revolving Door Band: They have never had a lineup last from one album to the next, and they are also infamous for having a lot of live fill-ins due to members not being able to make tours; at this point, their live lineup is Jared and Cris plus a revolving cast of fill-ins. While they have always had frequent lineup changes, the floodgates really opened after Peters and Strickland leftnote . This is also one of the reasons why Greg Paulson left; while he is still good friends with Jared, Arkaik's "the guys with a vision and their revolving session cast" setup really started to grate on him.
  • Rock Opera: Their releases from Metamorphignition onward have told the tale of Cyrix, a monk whose consciousness was shunted into an alternate reality during a bout of Self-Immolation. Metamorphignition tells the tale of how he got there and the visions that he received during his journey, Lucid Dawn chronicles his arrival into the alternate reality and the subsequent overthrow of the corrupt mage dictatorship of Khaal-Li-Phar, and Nemethia chronicles his accidental discovery of an enclave of banished mystics who have been awaiting his arrival as The Chosen One.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Particularly on the early material, sometimes to a fault.
  • Special Guest: A lot:
    • As live fill-ins: Cameron Porras and Ron Casey (though Cam never got to fill in because the tour was cancelled), Jason Borton, Adam Roethlisberger (Vitriol), Dylan Walker, Adam King (Singularity), Brandon Millan (The Last of Lucy), Cris Portugal (Enslave the Creation), and Nathan Bigelow (Singularity, Alterbeast). Roethlisberger and Millan eventually became full-time for all of several months apiece before quitting (though the former did go back to being a live member), while Portugal is joining full-time.
    • As album guests: Trevor Strnad and Ryan Knight, Gabe Seeber, Joe Haley, and Arde Ostowari (Burning the Masses).
  • Start My Own: Craig Peters started his one-man progressive death metal project Destroying the Devoid while he was still in Arkaik; he chose to devote more time to it after he quit the latter.
  • Technical Death Metal: Tech on their earlier material, prog on Metamorphignition.
  • Teen Genius: Alex has been playing drums since he was eleven years old, was playing in the Modesto Junior College Jazz Band at fifteen, got a gig playing for Steve "Zetro" Souza's new band Hatriot at sixteen, and got the Arkaik gig when he was just barely eighteen.
  • Vocal Evolution: Jared started using highs in addition to his lows circa Lucid Dawn.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The philosophical/metaphysical themes of their earlier material occasionally got too carried away.