Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Behold...The Arctopus

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Behold...The Arctopus Skullgrid album cover
3.81 | 66 ratings | 12 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Skullgrid (1:07)
2. Canada (5:32)
3. Of Cursed Womb (2:59)
4. You Are Number Six (8:51)
5. Some Mist (3:47)
6. Scepters (3:44)
7. Transient Exuberance (7:37)

Total Time 33:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Lerner / guitar
- Colin Marston / Warr guitar
- Charlie Zeleny / drums

- Mick Barr / guitar (4)
- Jordan Rudess / keyboards (7)

Releases information

CD Black Market Activities/Metal Blade (2007)

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS Skullgrid Music

BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS Skullgrid ratings distribution

(66 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS Skullgrid reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The hardest-working band in Extreme Tech does it again with a collection of craziness and unnatural behavior on this, an album that takes 'noodling' to a new level and throws every rehearsal session, practiced scale and mind-numbing calculation into the mix, somehow reassembling it again in order. Sounds are squeezed, instruments are beaten, and blisters are developed. The fight ensues with the ridiculous title cut followed by the only slightly less ridiculous 'Canada', a staggering piece that represents the best of this new breed of tech trailblazers. 'Of Cursed Womb' is sheer chaos as is 'You Are Number Six' which shows the uncanny ability of this trio to maintain discipline under the most harrowing circumstances, and 'Some Mist' and 'Scepters' are like being trapped in the belly of an enormous machine with no obvious way out. A bit of math-core to end with the 8-minute 'Transient Exhuberance'.

This band is doing what others in metal would like to but can't because they just don't have the balls. Lucky for us, Behold...the Arctopus does.

Review by FruMp
4 stars Mind warping tech

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS showed great promise with their super-technical EP 'Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning' released in 2005 and over the past 2 years they have refined their technique and sound and have come out with a fantastic technical metal album that pushes all the boundaries. One of the things that makes the power trio so unique is the use of a 12 stringed warr guitar which is able to be played using two handed tapping technique and as one would play a bass or guitar, this is most evident in the song Canada which is probably the most accessible (if that word is even appropriate to be used here) and best of the lot which features a great mellow warr guitar breakdown which is surprisingly capable of invoking emotion. The instrumentation here is something else, The drumming is frenetic and technical as you would expect and Charlie Zeleny always pulls out the blast beats at just the right moments, but it's Mike Lerner who really stands tall with his face melting fretwork he gives the music most of it's flavour, one can detect a very strong influence of RON JARZOMBEK in his wailings.

This record is essential for all fans of instrumental technical metal and anyone with a strong enough stomach to handle it, fans of SPASTIC INK in particular will certainly enjoy what is on offer here.

Review by ProgBagel
4 stars Behold.The Arctopus - Skullgrid 4.0 stars

Hey mom! Watch us!

Honestly, Behold.The Arctopus hasn't slowed down since their stunning EP 'Nano.'. I've waited a long time for this CD to come out and sadly, I expected nonetheless. The line-up is the same as the first one.

A notable difference is the guitar is more of the front, on the EP I got the impression that Colin (on Warr guitar) was the driving force in the songs. 'Skullgrid' seems to be much more guitar driven. The reason for the 4-star rating is cause we are getting much of the in terms of composition, but do not think that any two songs are alike. The songs are brilliantly structured and once again implements heavy jazz, classical and avant-garde techniques. For more information on the sound, you can read my 'Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning' Review.

Once again, something you should not want to miss from the biggest band in the technical metal scene today. These children play like it's nothing even in the most chaotic of moments. If there ever were a world crisis.I'd turn to them.

Review by sean
4 stars This band is utterly ridiculous,from the band name to the music, and is one of my favourite recent discoveries. I originally looked this band up because I saw the name and thought it was ridiculous. Then I listened to the music, and it blew me away. The music is essentially a cross between extremely technical prog metal, jazz, and classical, though the classical presence is more of an influence on the music than the arrangement. Speaking of the arrangement, It's insane how three people manage to create this much chaos. Behold...The Arctopus consists of a guitar, a drummer, and a Warr Guitar, the instrument made famous by Trey Gunn of King Crimson fame. The music consists of a constant barrage of technical riffs and runs, and the listener is barely given a chance to break. If you're into more melodic bands, I wouldn't recommend this, as there is little semblance of traditional melody, but if you can take bands like Dillinger Escape Plan this could be just right for you. I starts off with the title track, a short ditty that gives us only a small hint of what is to come. From there, it just explodes with Canada and rarely slows down for us to catch up. It's a good thing it's so short though, because I think an hour long of this album would just wear down the listener. Also of note, Jordan Rudess does an excellent continuum solo on the final track, Transient Exuberance. Not quite a masterpiece, but one of the better modern prog metal albums and certainly one of the most original. It'll be interesting to see what this band does in the future. I'd like to see a bit more melody and harmony thrown in just to make it less tiring on the ears. Other than that, great album, great musicianship, this could be one of the next big bands, at least in the prog metal scene.
Review by Moatilliatta
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.

Review by Dim
4 stars I thought my Mind was going to explode on first listen of this one.

Usually I cant stand overly technical guitar/bass/drum-sterbation, but for some reason this group has always turned me on. At some points their music does in fact strike a chord in this hardcore post rockers heart. I cant really put my finger on it, but Skullgrid is one hell of an album I will recommend to pretty much anybody.

thirty second note drumming, insane warr guitar work flopping from guitar to bass in an instant, and a lead guitar player who switches from playing straight up scales, to mind blowing shred solo's. Yeah sounds like your typical tech metal band, but really it's DT, Death, Cynic, and liquid tension experiment on steroids. Without a vocalist dragging them down this threesome are free to make the most technical and brutal music they can. Sometimes going through several key modulations in a couple of seconds, to just plain chromaticism, oh and don't even bother trying to count the time. Even the pretentious a$$ hole Jordan Rudess has a few shining moments on this album. What else can I say, this album just defines technicality.

My favorite song is the one minute opener. Whenever I'm asked what kind of music I'm into (though I don't even listen to much tech at all) I'll go ahead and show them the title song, and watch them give me a face of a child when they found Santa wasn't real. Pure disbelief, that's what you'll get with this album.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars What a technical extravaganza this is! This band like similar artists Psyopus are what I would call an equivalent to free-jazz only applied to metal, so I guess it could therefore be called free-metal. I understand why many would run away from this since almost all metal is at least somewhat based on the blues. Although Judas Priest began a major departure from the blues in the 70s and created modern metal as we know it, the fact is that most bands have not totally eschewed the scales and patterns that the simple blues established when rock n' roll was born. BEHOLD.. THE ARCTOPUS is a band that has totally gone somewhere else altogether. Although there are brief runs that have bluesy overtones, the song structures here are non-existent. This band simply likes to steer you into unknown territory and then kick it up to 11.

This band is only a trio but all three musicians are incredibly skilled on their instruments of choice. This is totally instrumental. Their ability to play together is staggering as these tracks sound totally random at times and the whole thing reminds me of a magnificent flock of birds that all fly together in harmony and then suddenly turn into a new direction in unison. I actually have an appetite for this insanity. I don't feel like every album or every band needs to use an established protocol to "move" me or tug my heart-strings. Sometimes I just want to take a roller coaster ride and that's what this is... a musical roller coaster ride that twists and turns and uses technical wizardry to suspend your disbelief. Although this isn't something I listen to on a regular basis, when I feel like going to the amusement park for an unadulterated adrenaline rush I find this first full album SKULLGRID to hit that spot.

Review by LearsFool
5 stars And here we thought we'd have to wait about a century to hear music made by robots. So, yeah, this is pretty much the logical conclusion of tech death: just about emotionless, highly complex, blazingly fast, and might be called math death by some. And loud, of course. For what it is it's excellent, with very skilled musicians playing tech to the fullest, with plenty of new ideas. Behold... The Arctopus does not rest on any laurel here. Listening to this album is an enjoyable experience, with much to savour in ~36 minutes - tech is fast, after all. For me, the best part, even after all that, is the end of "Of Cursed Womb", where after a beat of silence the guitarist lets out one final note, rather humourously. I did say ALMOST emotionless.
Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars Woooo ... can melody lines get such a complication like their excessive style? 'Skullgrid' was released in 2007 as the debut album of BEHOLD ... The ARCTOPUS and their superb masterpiece 'Canada', that was introduced by my progr mate, has called me upon their turf. Yes I've got knocked out completely by the track where every piece is played without any breath nor relief at all. Complex, eccentric, and concentrated melody / rhythm lines are pretty harmonized and crystallized perfectly. No distortion is here. It makes sense you can find something innovative and immersive in their sound world.

Already tremendous is the weird combination of a mammal skull and digitally formed cubes. The first titled track is quite short but powerful and intensive as the very first call of theirs. Just felt as if Janus Stark met Yoshiharu of Le Silo. Imagined all of them might play together under such a nervous and sensitive condition, for the 90 seconds. The twin guitar explosions are incredibly gorgeous precisely based upon the chilling, outstanding rhythms created by the drum genius. Their soundscape is not so metallic but splendidly technical and extreme. It would navigate your massive expectation for a rock novelty.

'You Are Number Six' has less brilliance nor motivative potential in kinda shoegaze playing situation (maybe) but notifies you of dramatic repetitions and critical intentions. Wondering how long they could create such a musical perfection. Melodic, rhythmic seriousness in 'Some Mist' or speedy madness in the following 'Scepters' sounds amazing, attractive too. Minor details aside, their play should show you another fantastic sound appearance along with complicated but completely synchronized instrumental ritual managed by them all. Brilliant.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Behold... The Arctopus is a very, very inaccessible band for the general music listener. I don't mean this in a pompous "polo-wearing with sheet music under my arms"- kind of way, if you do not like extreme music and are unused to this type of music it can be very hard on your ears. I remember thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#253400) | Posted by Lezaza | Sunday, November 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The hype around this band after releasing Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning left an impressive weight of expectation of their shoulders for their first full length effort. Skullgrid was then released and was left wondering if the band even tried on this. Despite consisting of the same sound and es ... (read more)

Report this review (#175726) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Sunday, June 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Incredibly technical metal. This is not for the faint of heart. This is a band I very much look forward to following in their budding career. What can I really say? Brutal. Unrelenting. Very talented musicians making very complex music. Stand out tracks are Canada and Transient Exuberance, alt ... (read more)

Report this review (#157674) | Posted by Zwerg Bart | Friday, January 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS "Skullgrid"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.