Some records are hammered out in 3 days in the studio with well rehearsed and live performed songs where it’s just about setting up and commiting to tape. Then there is “Cascadence” by Arcaeon, a labour of love from a group of perfectionists who’d rather take their time and get it right than give us something warts and all compete with imperfections. That is their way. We first witnessed the band at a pre- Tech-Fest warm up show for The Arusha Accord back in 2017 and they blew our tiny minds, something they continued to do with debut EP “Balance” and since then have brought on board Sentients vocalist Stuart Sarre, a man who insisted that their next release and his debut was a full length album.
We’ve been lucky enough to witness Arcaeon perform some of the material from “Cascadence” in the live arena with some break out of the studio one off shows and so had an inkling as to what the album would sound like but reality is that it’s been so long that Sam Machin and company could have changed it around. The icy synths of “Infernum Demergeris” set a chilling tone before the introduction piece bursts into “Origin of Dreams“, a Progressive Metal masterpiece that is perfectly balanced in all aspects. Sarre sings and screams over Industrial tinged electronics accompanied by an ocean of well paced technical riffage that doesn’t meander too much, instead bringing the headbang in some style. The same is true of “Ghost In The Machine“, a song about the trappings of the technological age which has so much going on that it takes multiple listens to take it all onboard. The synths have that Nekrogoblikon quality, racing in the background and providing an exoskeleton for the rest of the music to hang on. Then the darkness comes with the brutally heavy “Replicant“, loaded with dirge laden riffs and haunting sinister programming. It’s a brute if a tune that has epic, swirling moods and a schizophrenic quality to it while still being distinctly Arcaeon. We just haven’t heard them this heavy before and it’s a pleasant surprise as they showcase new atmospheres, that extra bite gives them so much more energy.
The Periphery influence has always been there in Arcaeon and with “Ezekiel’s Wheel” they wear it on their sleeves with a song that could so easily be penned by the genre pioneers. DJentlemen will unite with this one as Sarre shows of his incredible vocal range and Mancin delivers some seriously impressive technical and bright solos that sound immense. Sounding like an 80’s science fiction b-movie with warped synths “Zenith I: The Reflection” lyrically sounds like a long hard stare into the mirror with a beautiful tragedic ache to it before the “Zenith II: Arcadia” returns to those Periphery influenced sounds in glorious style. The amount of talent in Arcaeon as a band is staggering and the rhythm section provided by bassist EifionSweet and drummer Joe Farrell should not be underestimated. They provide the wonderful nuances themselves which may go unnoticed at first, for example the Jazz infusions of the drums that back the mesmerising solo here are really something else. Returning to the heavier elements with staccato riffage and violent rantings from Sarre, “Beyond the Spires / Beneath the Canopy” even has a blast beat moment sandwiched between his vocal roars. Ominous and powerful, the band have created a Tech-Metal masterpiece that should see them elevated to the next realm in their musical careers. How they’re going to be able to play some of this stuff live blows the mind.
The brooding menacing frenetic quality of the synths on “Heretic” are vital to building the sound and the melodies on this one shine through with some soaring guitar work and seamless transitions between the light and shade moments. There is a certain epic quality here that is just jaw dropping and the album title track, is worthy of being so, a stand out among stand outs thanks to meloncholic overtones and soaring clean vocals that challenge the listener as the band build to a crescendo in slick style. A powerhouse of a track “Ode to Unknown” sees Sarre return to some of the vocal stylings of the bands debut EP “Balance” while also pushing the extremes at both ends so it’s like having both Spencer Sotelo and Mat Bruso on the same track. Closing with a frantic dreamscape in “An Endless Sky” which has a Nintendo quality with the synths, glorious tapping sections and DJenty goodness, Arcaeon manage to shoehorn in so much musically it’s simply stunning. The funky CHON esq moments are unexpected and the transitions are just seamlessly wonderful. Stunning. [9/10]
Origin of Dreams
Ghost In The Machine
Zenith I: The Reflection
Zenith II: Arcadia
Beyond the Spires / Beneath the Canopy
Ode to Unknown
An Endless Sky
“Cascadence” by Arcaeon is out now and available over at bandcamp