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Arcaeon – Cascadence Award winner

Arcaeon
Cascadence
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 February 2021, 7:28 AM

Following the release of their debut EP “Balance” in 2018, ARCAEON return now in 2021, with a new singer, to release their debut full-length, titled “Cascadence.” As suggested by the name, tracks six and seven mark the turning point in “Cascadence,” which is loosely a concept album of colour, from “Infernum Demergeris” (the Hell at the beginning of Blade Runner – sepia, orange, dark tones) through to “An Endless Sky” (blue). “Zenith I: The Reflection” is ‘a mantra for when we think too much about the mistakes we’ve made or what we could’ve been if we had lived differently. We cannot change history, only learn from it’; “Zenith II: Arcadia” is a depiction of Utopia, ‘about elevating ourselves beyond our social, racial, political and other differences into a new collective togetherness.’ The album contains twelve tracks.

“Infernum Demergeris” leads off the album. It’s a short, one-minute mood setting instrumental, that uses tense lead guitar notes, and segues into “Origin of Dreams,” which opens with a full sound of Progressive guitars, harsh and clean vocals. One difference between this vocalist and the old is his range. It’s glass shattering in the upper ranges. The band is also performing as tight as they did with their debut EP. The guitar solo is especially good. “Ghost in the Machine” opens with a swirl of keys amidst an ultra-heavy attack of vocals and instruments. It’s an angry song with some meter shifting that will keep you on your toes. There is a sequence of spoken word around the half-way mark, followed by some brief clean vocals.

“Replicant” opens with a chaotic sound of heavy, crushing guitars, bass and drums, with raging vocals. It’s almost devoid of melody altogether, focusing instead on pulverizing you into ashes. “Ezekiel’s Wheel” opens with some seriously high pipes from singer Stuart Sarre. The melodies have some time to develop, in contrast with the previous song, and are quite sublime. I also love the bass work of Eifon Sweet. The track still has angry elements but they don’t take over the melodies for the most part. Another fantastic guitar solo is laid down as well. “Zenith I: The Reflection” begins with smooth keyboard melodies, and subdued vocal harmonies. It’s quite pretty. “Zenith II: Arcadia” opens with a full sound of Progressive guitars working in unison with the clean vocals. The music changes at every turn, but also keeps a core sound. It’s amazing how the band is able to pull this off.

“Beyond the Spires/Beneath the Canopy” opens with some hard electronica, followed by bass thumping. Harsh vocals portray an intense picture, while the guitars explore into new territories unknown. It builds throughout in layers of rage. A pretty little ambient interlude connects the passages of intensity. “Heretic” opens with vocal screams that would wake the dead, while the music is rich and full. The meter shifting here is hard to keep up with; something that only seasoned Progressive musicians can pull off. The melodies shine around the half-way mark with wondrous transitions.

“Cascade” begins with some ominous background notes and clean guitars. Something is lurking in the dark, or so it seems at first. Clean vocals bring a melancholy sound to this charming track. “An Endless Sky” is a chaotic track but the melodies are there…you just need to dig a little to uncover them. The harsh vocals here are particularly mean and nasty. Around the half-way mark, all is calm, with soothing vocals and bass guitar notes. It culminates with a big crescendo. “Ode to Unknown” closes the album. It begins with some electronica and a groove that will hook you. The main guitar riff will get your head banging for sure.

ARCAEON have produced a masterpiece here. They play with the technical abilities of a band like PERIPHERY, but with the melodic sensibilities of a band like NOVELISTS. Stuart Sarre was also the right choice for a vocalist. He has an impressive range in both the clean and harsh territories, and really brings a snarl to the music. They move in and out of harsh and melodic passages with ease. Their debut EP was an impressive start…now they finish the job with their debut full-length, and deserve to be spoken among the elite bands in the genre.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Infernum Demergeris
2. Origin of Dreams
3. Ghost in the Machine
4. Replicant
5. Ezekiel's Wheel
6. Zenith I: The Reflection
7. Zenith II: Arcadia
8. Beyond the Spires/Beneath the Canopy
9. Heretic
10. Cascade
11. Ode to Unknown
12. An Endless Sky
Lineup:
Stuart Sarre – Vocals
Eifion Sweet – Bass
Rhys Tomas – Guitar
Sam Machin – Guitar
Joe Farrell –  Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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