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Behold...The Arctopus - Skullgrid CD (album) cover

SKULLGRID

Behold...The Arctopus

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.73 | 48 ratings

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Moatilliatta
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Behold...the Arctopus is as strange as their name implies, and it's not just because they use a Warr guitar, nor is it because of Warr guitarist Colin's bizarre hair style, and it's not even the image of Colin, with his bizarre hairdo, playing a Warr guitar. Many of those who read their band name and lineup are immediately curious about hearing what this band sounds like, and upon hearing them, still have no idea. Some of those listeners may even call into question if these guys even know what they are doing with those instruments of theirs. Well, a guest appearance on your album by Jordan Rudess will quickly confirm that yes, they do know what they're doing, or at least they make it look really convincing. But before we digress into analyzing whether or not this band knows what they're doing, we must first remember that we have no idea what it is that they are doing, so it's impossible to tell. Luckily, it doesn't matter if there is a method to their madness, because it's still madness, and that is exactly what their goal is to deliver.

While mythozoologists have debated what exactly this "Arctopus" beast is, no conclusion has been made. All we know is that the Arctopus manifests itself when these three guys pick up instruments, and they have been nice enough to record some of the events that have ensued upon its said manifestation. Whatever the "Arctopus" is, it must be rabid. When the Arctopus is let loose, it goes on a rampage in which it beats and tears apart anything in it's general area. And this activity generates a racket that almost sounds like an atonal fusion of metal and jazz! Man am I glad I got the chance to hear this, because this is unlike anything I've seen or heard before! The bearers of the Arctopus have done pretty well with their first full-length. First of all, they realize that people can't stand more than 40 minutes of this nonsense, and so the album clocks in at around 37 minutes long. Second, it gives me an explanation for why Colin's hair is so weird-looking. Clearly the beast has done a number on that mop of his. Third, it affirms my long-held belief that Canada and Jordan Rudess are the only two forces that can take on fercious mythological creatures. You can hear the Arctopus briefly in a calm state on the second track, and its yelping sounds almost like a Gordian Knot song. However, the Canadians can be a bit lazy (socialized medicine is a bad idea - get back to work so you can buy your own healthcare!), so that moment is a fleeting one. And then in "Transient Exuberance," where Rudess lays down a continuum solo, we hear the only other quiet segment of the recording, however, this one sounds more like the Arctopus had a series of nervous twitches because it found out that Rudess was nearby. But he couldn't stay for too long; he must have had some obligations with Dream Theater to attend to. On the negative side, despite the confirmation of their compositional cognizance, it can still sound like a mess. You may grow seriously annoyed or aggravated after listening to a couple of these tracks. I believe that this is all calculated in beforehand, but if it's obnoxious, it's just plain obnoxious. Admirable as it may be, there needs to be more beyond the mathematics of the music to make me keep listening.

In conclusion, I actually do like this, and there actually is some seriously strong musicianship going on here. Unfortunately, I don't think this lived up to the potential they showed on their EP, and would say that the songs on the EP are better, or at least more enjoyable. There are no melodies here, and that almost always causes an album to be less memorable. It can also be obnoxious, but the length prevents it from being overly so. Nevertheless, this is something to be heard.

Moatilliatta | 3/5 |

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