• Arcadea – S/T

    Arcadea – S/T
    Released by: Relapse Records
    Released on: June 12th, 2017.
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    Comprised of drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor (of Mastodon), guitarist/keyboardist Core Atoms (of Zruda and Gaylord) and keyboardist/guitarist Raheem Amlani (of Withered and Scarab), Arcadea release their self-titled debut album via Relapse Records. Self-produced and mastered by Colin Leonard (who has in the past worked with the mighty Mastodon), the record is made up of eleven tracks in total.

    So yeah, this is basically all keyboards and drums, as such, it’s an entire album of weird Goblin/John Carpenter inspired proggy jams, starting off with Army Of Electronics, a track that clocks in at just under four minutes. You can kind of hear the Mastodon sound in here at times, though it’s less heavy and far more otherworldly. It’s a great way to start off the album, it sounds like something right out of a vintage sci-fi film, especially when it does a serious change in tempo around the half way mark.

    From there, we get Gas Giant, a three and a half minute spacey track that starts off with a barrage of synths before the drums kick in and give it a bottom end. The keyboard playing here is intense, and then the vocals kick in and bring it to the next level – this is probably the fastest, speediest and in some ways heaviest track on the record. Rings Of Saturn is just over three minutes in length and it’s well titled, it sounds like a trip to the outer limits, what with the weird vocals and the pulsing keyboards. The only constant here, again, is the drumming, something we notice throughout the record (the keyboards go into some very strange and alluring directions with the vocals right behind them while the drumming serves as a musical anchor of sorts).

    Neptune Moons is a three and a half minute track that opens with some calm, serene female vocals (not credited on the promo version sent for review), but soon enough the drums roll from the left speaker to the right, the keyboards start up and things get… weird. It builds throughout the duration of the track and then, with about a minute to spar, gets heavier and weirder, just like you knew it would. Crazy stuff, and infinitely listenable. This segues nicely into Infinite End, another three and a half minute long assault on the sense, a massive wave of sound where digital and analogue instrumentation collide into something both familiar and unique at the same time. The vocals on this one are especially wild, lots of effects are used here to make things sound appropriately alien.

    Electromagnetic starts off with a fairly aggressive barrage of pulsing keyboard work before the drums come in, followed by the vocals, taking the track in a fairly heavy but somehow melodic and super spacey direction. Motion Of Planets is a bit shorter at two and a half minutes in length, but it’s also more aggressive, somehow angrier and more intense in its way. It leads into The Pull Of Invisible Strings, a track that opens with a weird robotic voice before hitting us with a somewhat traditional drum roll over some decidedly wonky keyboard work. This instantly creates some genuinely enveloping aural contrast, off of which the band lay down even thicker synth sounds and over top of which Dailor’s drums just seem to wash over like a tidal wave. It’s one of the stand out tracks on a seriously solid record, a track that encompasses metal, prog, elements of punk and… something else entirely.

    Through The Eyes Of Pisces is a four and a half minute long track that starts off calm, quiet and a little bit creepy what with the synths going at it all on their lonesome. The drums kick in but subtlety, not overpowering things, while the heavily altered effects heavy vocals weave their way into the mix. You sort of expect this one to go off in some way and it defies expectations, it’s calmer and quieter than the rest of the record, but no less effective for it. Worlds Can Go On is the penultimate track on the album, a quick forty-second bit that features some indiscernible vocals put through all manner of effects work over some synths – maybe not surprisingly it leads directly into the album closer, the almost seven minute long Magnificent Façade. The band closes with a track that really surmises all that they’ve laid down before, a heavy, multi-layered mix of prog heavy sythn and keyboard work, weird vocals and rock solid drumming that combines in such a way as to pull you in and leave you wanting more.