JOHAN | 2007-05-25 >>>
"Excalibur" / "Gladiátor"
SP (1988 Panton)
The first official Arakain release
Arakain was the only metal
band to possibly compete with Citron back in the second half of the
80's. While metalized Citron put out a single a in 1984 and a full
album two years later, Arakain only started to show up in 1987, when
the "Posloucháte Vetrník ...3" sampler introduced their song "Cesta".
Although the review title suggest just the two songs from the single,
I'll say a word about „Cesta“, too, to make up for the list of all the
songs that came out on vinyl. The original title was "Nesmíš to
vzdát", and soon after the sampler came out, Arakain criticised its
sound quality. What you heard from the record was a flat sounding
rock, and there was little left of the song as presented live. People
spoke of intentional editing of the song and the original version of
the song could only be heard in a re-recorded form from the
compilation CD "Arakain 15 vol. 2" in 1997.
After the Supraphon (record label) treat, Arakain records more songs
for a different company, namely Panton, that released some nonconform
bands from time to time even before the totalitarian period finished.
Two biggest hits as known from the concerts had been selected - "Excalibur"
a "Gladiátor". Five guys hit the theatre studio in 1987 and came out
with much better sounding material that was released the following
year. Besides Aleš Brichta (v), Jirí Urban (g), Miroslav Mach (g) and
Zdenek Kub (b) the band's drummer was Karel Jencík, for whom it was
the last studio session with Arakain before he made his way to Assesor.
"Excalibur" starts with an unusual flute part to evoke mediaeval
atmosphere (guest Petr Bezpalec), followed up by tambourine and the
electric instruments and drums replace the intro, not in a seamless
way. Aleš almost screams words about Merlin, legendary sword Excalibur,
Lancelot, Arthur and the knights of the round table. The song has just
a short moment to take a breath, else it's a fast double bass driven
track with thrashing guitars, pounding bass and typical squeaky lead
in the second half. "Gladiátor", perhaps the band's best hit from the
period 1987 - 1988, starts with long guitar tones, suddenly replaced
with fast drums, sharp guitars and of course rough vocals. The songs
is monotonous in the beginning, but gains another dimension due to
chugging riffs and shouted vocals, a lead breaks in and then there is
the one word repeating chorus. First four times, second already twelve
times. I get back 20 years ago when I was listening to the single, a
friend came in and though the record had got stuck and plays over
again at the same place... Still, the music around the repeated word
develops from classical thrash through more minimalist arrange to a
colourful soloing. A word about the lyrics - historical topics have
got a good treatment from Aleš here. You can imagine the legendary
king Arthur, as well as the muscular gladiators fighting for their
The single offers two songs that we can consider fundamental for the
band's history. But the attack on the Czech metal throne came only
with the first full length two years later.