With much apology to Arkhasis I must admit that I sat on this release for far too long after an open invitation to do a write up about the band. No real sleep should be lost though I suppose as I did end up downloading Monde Parallèle off of iTunes myself. At first I fill compelled to admit this one was to be an addition to this week's French Metal Friday. While it would have fit and been an excellent example of the current state of French heavy metal it would have been a tad lazy on my part and there has been enough of that lately from me. So, with that where to begin with Arkhasis? There had been an attempt on my part to get some piece of history or bio on the band. With no luck there I am left to gather what few bits are to be found on the web (especially in English). Obvious by now the band hail from France (Épinal, Lorraine) and were formed in 1995. Other than the 2003 Relic & Shapes Demo and the 2004 Concert Journée Talents Honeywell DVD it looks as if the band spent some length of time just shaping their sound. That sound you ask? Heavy speed/power metal with touches of prog, traditional British heavy metal and what could almost be 70's era rock. An odd mix perhaps made all the more strange thanks in no small part to the vocal style of lead singer/guitarist Bruno Barbillon. Certainly not a traditional heavy metal vocalist Bruno seems almost uncomfortable trying to mix his voice in with such heavy and fast music. Throughout the album he dosn't so much as sing with the band as he does try to find his comfort zone. Maybe it sounds more off to me though as much of the album is in French (the few English tracks still suffer the same fate although with repeated listens it grew on me). In all though it is a very well crafted, arranged and produced album showing a mature side to Arkhasis. The production is clear. The album's sound is clean and crisp and despite Bruno's vocals the album has a tremendous rock vibe to it. For whatever reason it reminded me of a leaner Metallica during their early attempts at working with Bob Rock. Don't let that put you off though as Arkhasis make the sound work and by adding those few hits of classic British metal and prog they create an album that is classy. An interesting album and a good starting place for a band that with the right couching and a better lead vocalist could be truly amazing.