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Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns (Album Review)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 Written by Alec Chillingworth

There’s something special about Arcane Roots. Upon the release of their mini-album, ‘Left Fire’, six years ago, the press pushed, shoved and slapped each other to cover them. They wanted to proclaim ‘I got to them first! I uncovered this hidden gem!’ before dumping them just as quickly. The usual.

That didn’t happen, though. When the Kingston trio’s debut LP, ‘Blood & Chemistry’, arrived in 2013, it melded modern-day Biffy Clyro-isms with vicious post-hardcore and people still cared.

It’s a good job, too, because on album two, ‘Melancholia Hymns’, we have a completely different proposition altogether. The mathcore trappings have all but been subtracted, save for Matter’s hulking, tech metal denouement.

This album is unlike anything the band – and most of their peers – would have dreamed of achieving only a short while ago. It has more in common with Devin Townsend, Steven Wilson or Nine Inch Nails than it does the Fall of Troy.

Everything [All At Once] finishes with another dose of djentified chugging, granted, but it’s not like it’s just been wedged in to please those who worship the heavy stuff. It’s part of the narrative. ‘Melancholia Hymns’ clocks in just shy of an hour, its 10 songs seamlessly segueing through immersive musical movements.

The band have also embraced synths here and it pays off. Its snapshots of emotional, Pink Floydian space trips are given an almost singer-songwriter treatment, with James Blake being the obvious comparison. It’s not derivative, simply taking that idea and applying it to this sprawling work of rock grandeur.

There's still a slew of oddball moments to crash into your cranium, too. Several of Andrew Groves’ vocal takes are reminiscent of Mastodon’s Troy Sanders at his most ethereal, while Indigo’s opening features a performance that could belong to Kings of Leon if that band were capable of anything other than phoning it in.

This is a progressive rock record that makes you feel, as cheesy as that sounds. It’s not as scratchy or angular as some of the band’s previous output. It’s better than that. ‘Melancholia Hymns’ is worlds apart from 99.9% of the acts Arcane Roots have been associated with in the past. It's carving its own path through the wilderness.

Arcane Roots Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu October 05 2017 - LONDON Scala
Fri October 06 2017 - WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms
Sat October 07 2017 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 3
Sun October 08 2017 - GLASGOW King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Mon October 09 2017 - BELFAST Empire Music Hall
Wed October 11 2017 - DUBLIN Whelans
Fri October 13 2017 - LIVERPOOL Arts Club, Loft
Sat October 14 2017 - BRIGHTON Haunt
Sun October 15 2017 - BRISTOL THE FLEECE
Tue October 17 2017 - LEEDS Key Club
Wed October 18 2017 - EDINBURGH Mash House
Thu October 19 2017 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Fri October 20 2017 - PETERBOROUGH Met Lounge
Sat October 21 2017 - STOKE Sugarmill
Sun October 22 2017 - GUILDFORD Boileroom

Click here to compare & buy Arcane Roots Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





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