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Arc Arrival – C.H.A.O.S.

Arc Arrival
C.H.A.O.S.
by Brian Lowrie at 31 October 2020, 12:57 PM

I tend to be unusually picky about the bands I listen to; I can usually find something to dislike in every album. Where some would consider this to be a negative trait, I prefer to call it “being overtly thorough”. All semantics aside, I often appreciate bands that are off-the-wall, and make strides to be different in their own right. The new EP from Arc Arrival, however, gave me no shortage of moments I didn’t gel with; as the band likes to refer to themselves as “audacious and loud”, I prefer the terms “obnoxious and senseless”; I hate to be so blunt about it, as I don’t want to fault the band for this, for the musicians do a good job at displaying their potential and their versatility over the 5 tracks; however, the overall production of the album is something I just can’t get behind.

The opening track “Count Havoc Among Our Sins” plays a bit off of the band’s nu-metal influences, exhibiting lots of vocal variety (both clean and dirty) and playing off of progressions akin to bands like Slipknot. Even though I found the clean vocals to be a bit of a miss, the range of the harsher vocals is not something to be overlooked. This track is also one of the more coherent songs on the EP, leaning heavily in favor of a formulaic progression as opposed to some of the tracks that will come later. “Birth” is a track that displays my main issues with the EP, production wise; the distorted guitars are often a bass-heavy, reverberated jumble of low end with little to no clarity; the snare drum is a bit too loud for my taste, but the rest of the kit doesn’t sit high enough in the mix. I also had a harder time agreeing with some of the creative liberties that were taken with this song (in particular, the whisper-scream-hybrid vocals in the intro are a bit bizarre, to put it lightly), but the song is mostly a fun ride with a lot of rhythmic change-ups I can appreciate.

“Now We Shall” is a 24-second interlude that doesn’t offer much offer being just an interlude, and felt like an excuse to throw a dubstep-influenced track in the EP just for the sake of it. “Trigger The Silence” starts off in the vein of A Different Breed of Killer, and overall feels like a track where the reigns were pulled back just a little bit. This ends up working in their favor, as the mix feels tighter on this track, which might be due to how breakdown-heavy this track actually is. “The Human Condition”, the album’s final track, feels the most mature and shows a lot of their djenty influence as well. The track features some of the more interesting riffs on the album, and this is probably the only track in which I didn’t resent the clean vocals. However, the latter half of the song ends up revisiting some of the ideas I wasn’t too fond of (such as the whisper screaming), and this track ended up starting promising, but not quite reaching it’s full potential.

I hate to sound so sour about this EP, as it has some truly fun moments, but I found it challenging to enjoy. With this being the band’s first multi-track release, it feels incomplete and more experimental, but I have a feeling these guys will dial their sound in by the time their first full-length comes out; it might not be something I can see myself getting into, but just because it’s not for me doesn’t mean everyone else won’t enjoy it.

Songwriting : 5
Musicianship : 7
Memorability : 5
Production : 4


2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Count Havoc Among Our Sins
2. Birth
3. Now We Shall
4. Trigger The Silence
5. The Human Condition
Lineup:
Greg Dick – Vocals
Mag Kiemer – Guitars
Marc McGuire – Drums / backing vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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