Desert Battles – Descending to the Sands was originally released in 2009. This newly released version of the band’s fourth album is a remixed, remastered, and retouched affair. Even though the original album was a strong one in its own right, the band’s perfectionist streak mandated a revisit of it when the time was right, and that time is now.
This new version has been polished and cleaned, yet still manages to retain that dusty, Middle-Eastern appeal that’s deeply ingrained in Arallu’s music. Crisper and punchier than ever before, this is a refreshed and revitalised album that’s now at the top of its metallic game.
The vocals have been totally rerecorded too, making for an increased impact in delivery. In fact, the entire album now hits like a truck, with a fuller, rounder sound that just blows up your speakers as it roars out of them.
The band’s fusion of Middle Eastern influences and instruments with black metal’s passionate fury has always captivated me, and every time I hear something new from Arallu it seems that the band have outdone themselves. Even though this latest released isn’t exactly new, it’s a new version, (and has new vocals), and so has managed to captivate me all over again. I’m glad that the band have taken the time and effort to revisit this album, as the 2018 version is better than the original.
In addition to all of the above we also get new cover art and a reordered tracklisting, with the original intro track replaced by what was the original outro track, and the order of the actual songs tweaked.
All hail Arallu, and may they continue to go from strength to strength.