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Arcaine - As Life Decays Award winner

As Life Decays
by Quinten Serna at 27 March 2020, 2:16 AM

Those hallowed sounds of mercy and screeching rage descend unto your senses a torrent of rage, anguish, and relentless aggression hitting and rebounding within the cavity of your skull until your idea of the self, of the world around is nothing but headbanging mush made possible through unfettered rhythms and pounding drums. Founded 5 years prior to the time of this writing within Chur, Switzerland ARCAINE has issued unto the world and its devoted listeners their first full length release named as “As Life Decays”, which is itself - among other things - a socio-political and polemical-look at the world around devoid of any prescribed sensitivities.

Ambitious is a description held in the smallest regards as the album is everywhere in its constructed soundscape tearing down walls and mediums with sudden changes, charring progressions, and abrasive sounds that linger on the cacophonous; in example the title track, “As Life Decays” commences from a segue provided by its predecessor, the aptly named “Intro” - which is itself dynamic to an absurd degree starting in clean progressions with hints of choral harmonies and medieval arpeggios before the full fronting of metal is delivered without hesitation and then, as soon as it started, ends. The first full voiced song fills the void of silence with a piercing chorus of guitar, bass, and beat following the intensity of its predecessor which only slows in rhythm to provide room for the voice to lay down the first verse thereafter a small break completely destroys the soundscape before the entire band picks up. Following then is a brilliantly named track to complement the cathartic assault: “Relentless”. The song lives up to its name of constant driven succession and showcases the band’s ability to combine technical rhythms with unabated drums, only slowing for a breath of harmony which quickly becomes backed by the unremitting beats.

The instruments on the album combine and meld with one another in great success and fortitude, crafting a unique image and description which permeates every song, progression, and beat. Here the unrestricted prowess of each musician is put at the front and center of their respective instrument with the guitars constantly harmonizing and resonating with one another in a binaural delivery such that it becomes near impossible to hear a repeating song in the exact same manner; the bass is thick yet subtle, confined to the center but grounded in the foundation of the piece jutting out here or there through the guitars; the drums are tenacious and cut through the other instruments with ease, yet never enough to overpower any range such that no instrument is lost in the mix; the vocals are key and essential to the album as they describe the exacting nature and hostility of each piece more so than the instruments can name on their own, and by this they achieve brutal recognition and pathos in every track with “Dream” and “Void” being excellent examples as they contain a larger dynamic in terms of physical range and approach.

The album exists as a result of masterful construction and dutiful performance, achieving a large sound that greatly defines the band’s ideologies and talents. The album does feel a bit short and could benefit from a couple full length tracks but otherwise it exists with little to no flaws; the short of it is that this album is well worth the half-an-hour listen and subsequently the many more that will undoubtedly come thereafter.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. As Life Decays
3. Relentless
4. Still Alive
5. Tyrants
6. Toxic Mankind
7. Rebuild
8. Dream Of Victory
9. Void
Rinaldo Gaudenz - Bass
Reto Camenisch - Drums
Renato Herzog - Guitars
Brandon Wildhaber - Guitars
Adrian Gisler - Vocals
Record Label: MDD Records


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