Friday, May 19, 2017

Arcadea : s/t

While it might lack the more overt heavy metal trappings of Mastodon, Drummer Brann Dailor's new project is aggressive in it's brand of synth driven prog rock. I have run into Brann at enough shows of the Genesis tribute band The Music Box, to not be surprised with the direction he has gone here. He enlisted the help for Atlanta locals to round out this odd power trio with members from Zruuda and Withered. There is a weird Kraftwerk like robotic pulse to this album, but songs like "Gas Giant" have enough of a human element to the vocals work for me. "Gas Giant" moves at a much more frantic pace. Surprisingly the acrobatic drumming is not as pronounced in the mix as it is on Mastodon albums. The vocals also sit back as the synths battle it out for the dominant role in the song.  If you can't stand keyboards then this is not going to be the album for you and you might as well stop now. Unlike most prog these songs are very compactly written though they do cram many twists and turns into the three minute span of  "Rings of Saturn".

Things get weirder and mellower on "Neptune Moons", but the female vocals are not the greatest. They launch themselves further into the space age on this song.There is a darker and more aggressive turn on "Infinite End". This song is trippy enough so fans of some psychedelic might also connect to this one. I lock the vocals better on this song than what I have heard at this juncture in the album. There is more of a rock touch to the more driving drums of "Electromagnetic". "Motion of Planets" finds them back in more aggressive territory, almost to the point that it sounds like metal being played with synths instead of guitars, this also brings more industrial qualities to mind. The going gets weirder with the angular blips and bleeps of "the Pull of Invisible Strings". Brann's drumming is the main element that gives this songs a sense of cohesion.

There is a more sci-fi sound to "Through the Eye of Pieces". The vocals have robot effects draped over them. I do like the groove created when the drums kick in. The vocals split into layers with an more stripped down vocal sitting on top of the  robot one. The album closes with the more grandiose side synth wave flavor prog. The first verse is sung in a lower register than the bulk of the vocals on this album. One thing that set this apart from Mastodon are the keyboard solos that hold the places for where a guitar solo would normally be if this was a Mastodon album. I really like the vocal melody that chimes in at the two and half minute mark before they spiral off into a jam,

I will round this one up to a 9, though I am still unsure how compelled to have this in my iPod for daily listening. I do like what is being done hear some of the grooves and moods are fun even if it's more upbeat than what I normally listen to. Don't think it overshadows the newest Mastodon album nor was that the intent when this was made.

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