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BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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Behold...The Arctopus biography
Hailing from New York City, Behold... the Arctopus looks very promising.The instrumental trio comprised of Mike Lerner(guitar),Charlie Zeleny(drums)and Colin Marston(Warr guitar,a 12 string instrument played primarily by tapping that covers the range of guitar and bass), plays intensely virtuosic and complex progressive metal with avant-garde leanings that completely avoids sounding dated or cliche.They combine the furious virtuosity of tech metal,the improvised soloing of jazz, and certain writing techniques of contemporary classical music to give their insanity a compositional cohesion rarely heard in progressive metal music.So far they have released 2 eps,"Arctopocalypse Now...Warmageddon Later" in 2003 and "Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning" in 2005.Fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan,Ephel Duath and bands of this nature will love Behold...the Arctopus.Highly Recommended.

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http://www.beholdthearctopus.com/




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Discography:
Arctopocalypse Now...Warmageddon Later, ep (2003)
Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning, ep (2005)
...

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BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.57 | 53 ratings
Skullgrid
2007
3.56 | 12 ratings
Horrorscension
2012

BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.61 | 35 ratings
Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue)
2006

BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.60 | 11 ratings
Arctopocalypse Now...Warmageddon Later
2003
4.18 | 22 ratings
Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning
2005
3.60 | 10 ratings
Behold... the Arctopus / Orthrelm Split
2006

BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Skullgrid by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.57 | 53 ratings

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Skullgrid
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Horrorscension by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.56 | 12 ratings

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Horrorscension
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars These guys kick some motherf*ckin' ass, and they always have. Somehow disguising their astonishing creations behind frantic meth-head jams and brutal streetfights that explode with violence, BtA's Horrorscension is the only album I've ever heard that could cause you actual physical harm. No, really; corporeal damage that may take some time to recover from. It is a crippling record.

But that's the beauty of the Marston/Lerner chemistry-- as mercurial as things get, you know they have everything under control. What you hear is exactly what they wanted, as per 'Disintegore' with its dizzying rate of exchange blowing open holes in places you didn't know existed, happening all too quickly to get your bearings. You're gonna go down, but it's just the beginning of an un-winnable match. New drummer Weasel Walter penned - or pounded - the slightly more musical 'Monolithic Destractions' taking his bandmates on a ride of unknown distances which oh-so-subtly morphs into the title cut hiding a mellotron sample near the end. But my personal favorite here, to the extent that I can wrap my head around it, is torturously-titled 'Deluge of Sores' with Mike and Colin's neat pyrotechnics and thoughtful symmetry. The disc wraps with chiming and wild 'Annihilvore'.

BtA have never been for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but here you really have to watch yourself or risk getting in over your head. These three will kill you. Enjoy.

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 Horrorscension by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.56 | 12 ratings

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Horrorscension
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Horrorscension' - Behold the Arctopus (5/10)

Think of the perfect tech metal dream band; a shining example of everything good and great about the style. Now, take that band, and remove everything that would make them even remotely appealing to the general public, and you might get a sense of what Behold the Arctopus sound like. Suffice to say, it's not a scene for everyone, and I'm still left wondering if I could call myself a fan of what they do. As is to be expected from the trio, "Horrorscension" is an absolute mess in every musical (or non-musical) sense of the word. Like some nightmarish labyrinth, most of the chaotic ideas here lead absolutely nowhere, and a noxious atmosphere of calculated disorder saturates every minute of the album. Its artistic merits aside, Behold the Arctopus' hideously dense sound is an acquired taste that takes a few rough listens to begin appreciating, although the album never comes close to fulfilling the potential of its ingredients. The mathematics are here, but the chemistry isn't.

Really, there's no wondering why Behold the Arctopus' second album has received such a mixed (though largely negative) response. The music here generally flows in a rhapsodic form, furious tech metal ideas are barraged at the listener, pummeling away for a few seconds before Behold the Arctopus move on to the next idea in line. Although the fanatic precision and cooperation between the guitars and drums implies that each of these ideas were meticulously designed, the composition and structure seem to do everything in their limited power to convince the listener that the music is a random mess. "Disintegore" is a perfect example of this. Although there are a few ideas that initially suggest the track will develop into something cohesive and memorable, it never really goes anywhere. It's understandable for an instrumental tech metal band to lack a sense of melody, but "Horrorscension" really feels the lack of a thoughtful structure.

Of course, with this and any relatively challenging album, it takes several listens before all of its layers are truly revealed. Around the third or fourth spin, the patchy string of ideas becomes easier to overlook, and the atmosphere becomes more evident. It's strange for an album of this technical density to have any sort of atmosphere at all, but the chaotic soundscape creates an eerie vibe that I might describe as a lesser counterpart to the feeling that the similarly dissonant Gorguts presented on "Obscura". Although the screeching, frantic guitars are the most pronounced aspect of the sound of "Horrorscension", the most impressive aspect is Christopher Walter's drum performance, an equally sporadic performance that indicates a firm background both in metal and jazz.

There's little emotion in the performances themselves, but altogether, they create a dark atmosphere, although it's up to each listener whether they want to stick with it for the first few painful listens. I could draw a comparison between "Horrorscension" and a school bully who dangles a stolen lunchbox in front of little Timmy, only to snatch it away when Timmy makes a reach for it. Although there are some great single ideas here (particularly on the ten minute "Annihilvore", which seems to nod partways in the direction of black metal), they don't usually stick around for very long, and when they do, the ideas afterwards break whatever momentum you may have hoped was going to come. It's a rocky, messy, ugly album, but there's more to it than first meets the ear.

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 Skullgrid by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.57 | 53 ratings

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Skullgrid
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Lezaza

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 this from when I discovered this band back in 2007. I was very much into technical metal of all forms and loved atonal pieces above all; but when I first heard 'Skullgrid' I was overwhelmed, I experienced it as almost unbearable. There was no semblance of flow in the music, nothing came together and it all sounded like a horrible gathering of shred crazed guitarists(I am not a big guitar fan).

On top of all this there was the problem with the drumming. A problem that always seems to be in this genre; the drumming doesn't stand on its own. It is mostly just used as accentuation for the guitar and bass-lines. Something that to me is close to murder in how horrible I consider it. I'm all for drumming of this kind if it helps serve a purpose musically, in most good cases the drums brings it all together finding order within the otherwise chaotic structure. But with Behold... The Arctopus I feel as if there is a drummer there because "music of this kind usually has a drummer". There is just no place for him musically that warrants a person instead of a drumming machine, sadly.

So what does it sound like? If you are familiar with the genre and the prominent bands I'd say it's somewhere in the lines of a fuse of early The Number Twelve Looks Like You and Into The Moat. If you aren't familiar with the genre I'd describe it as a pair of guitarists(well, one guitarist and one warr-guitarist) who are looking to push the boundaries for what can be done within the confines of their instrument. It's chaotic, atonal, rhythmically frantic and very disjointed music. It reminds me a bit of Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring' with all its crazy rhythms and atonal passages; but metal-- If one can say that with a straight face...

When I listen to this two years later I consider it a little bit more bearable, which I can most likely credit my newly found interest in jazz and fusion for. But my initial negative experience and all the things I disliked then are still present now, just not in such a graphic fashion as in 2007.

This is a record for enthusiasts of extreme tech metal, the farthest frontier of atonal and complex pieces. I've heard that warr and guitar players consider this to be inspirational to listen to. So if you play either instrument it might be for you, I don't know.

An album only for true enthusiasts of the genre/band.

2/5

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 Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue) by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
3.61 | 35 ratings

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Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue)
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by topofsm

4 stars What do you get when you take a three piece free form jazz band, give them metal instruments including a 12-string bass, and tell them to write the most technical music they can? The answer is Behold.. The Arctopus, who have created quite possibly the most complex music ever created. Not only are the rhythms and time signatures beyond comprehension, but there are no singable harmonies to be found, as there is little to no repition and key signatures have been thrown out the window.

Of course, if it was the most technical music ever created then it probably wouldn't be listenable. Perhaps for some they will never get this type of music. But if nobody took the time to really listen to the music and learn the subtleties and nuances, they might have dismissed some classic albums like Relayer or Brain Salad Surgery and left them as weird or crazy and thus left the albums lost to obscurity. That is why I highly reccomend repeated listenings of "Nano-Nuclear Cyborg Summoning", as after just a few listens, songs become more familiar, and in turn, reveal incredible composition abilities along with high technicality.

After a while, the newly-initiated Behold... The Arctopus fan will be able to predict the melodic playing beginning midway through the EP opener "Exospacial Psionic Aura", which actually reveals some great emotion even amidst over-the top complexity. After that, there is the spacey post-rock/metal intro to "Estrogen/Pathogen Exchange" which serves as a great intro before an explosion of sound. Another highlight is the somewhat simpler "Alchoholocaust" which could almost induce headbanging, until the band decides that the 4/4 playing really is too much and leads back into their signature insanity. The Live second half of the EP really is just a good bonus, where the same great tracks are played before a too-small audience precisely, at the musicianship level of a professional symphony orchestra.

Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning certainly won't appeal to everyone. But for those who decide to give it a go and take the time to learn the subtleties of the music, a whole new world of music will be opened up to them, where over-the-top technicality and atonal noises can sound absolutely beautiful.

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 Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue) by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
3.61 | 35 ratings

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Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue)
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars It's fast, it's furious and it promises great things, but this slice of progressive metal is stronger on technique than content.

The sound is pretty much what you'd expect from a tech metal power trio, with guitars in overdrive and insanely fast yet absolutely precise drumming. The WARR guitar has a 5 octave range, so you get either earth pounding bass lines or synchronised twin axe shredding as required, and there are plenty of sudden shifts of tempo and time signature. There are a few reference points outside Tech metal; at times the guitar interplay recalls King Crimson circa Thrak (possibly because of the WARR guitar) while the drumming will be appreciated by fans of Yoshida Tatsuya (Ruins). The compositions recall RIO/Zeuhl power trios like Korekyojin or Ahleuchatistas with their labyrinthine twists and turns, but this is where Behold... don't quite realise their potential. Although they have a formidable grasp of dynamics and chops to match, the have a tendency to descend into self indulgent shredding and to drag things out for longer than necessary. This is particularly apparent on the two longest compositions, Exospacial Psionic Aura and You Will Be Reincarnated..., both of which have exhausted their possibilities well before they actually finish. The three shorter pieces are all much more effective, and the contrast between the drawn out drone introduction and the lightspeed finale of Estrogen/Pathogen is extremely effective.

This is enjoyable stuff if you like the manic intensity of Ruins or Korekyojinn, and if they tighten up their compositions Behold... the Arctopus could become magnificent. Cautiously recommended to fans of noisy RIO, Zeuhl and avant prog.

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 Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue) by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
3.61 | 35 ratings

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Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue)
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by pinkpork

4 stars Wow... very technical indeed!

I have recently started to listen to Behold... The Arctopus. I listened to them very closely, and WOW! This band is very, very promising as a new tech metal band. I have always listened to bands like Watchtower or Spastic Ink, but I have never heard a band as technical as this, maybe with the exeption of Behemoth and Necrophagist.

Highly recommended album! 4 out of 5!

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 Skullgrid by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.57 | 53 ratings

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Skullgrid
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Equality 7-2521

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 essentially all the same elements as the previously mentioned EP, Skullgrid fails to capture any of the magic that the band had led us to believe they could produce. I'm stunned by how similar these two releases are on the surface while being so different at their heart.

When I listen to Skullgrid I would not be surprised if the writing process went like this. Hey you know all those great 15 second ideas that we wanted to work into N-NCS but couldn't? Lets just string all of them together, call it an album, and arbitrarily break the long string up into sections we'll call songs. There's lots of cool little parts strung together here that sound great, but they seem pointless. There's no central cohesion, no theme pinning all of the random ideas together within a particular song. Unfortunately, this is the crux upon which their style rests and they will never recapture their previous success without this cohesion. The genius of the work is lost and due to how random the work appears, I'm left very cold by it.

We have here the highest caliber of musicianship, great original writing, fantastic energy, but yet the whole thing fails. Fans of the genre who just want to hear stunning pyrotechnics and rapid tempo-changes will get just what they're looking for in this. However, I feel most people who enjoyed their EP, especially those who don't venture into this genre often, will be very disappointed.

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 Skullgrid by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.57 | 53 ratings

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Skullgrid
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Dim
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Skullgrid by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.57 | 53 ratings

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Skullgrid
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by pinkpork

4 stars This is a very, and I mean VERY, technical album.

Skullgrid is Behold...The Arctopus' first full album. In my opinion, it is even more technical than Nano Neucleonic Cyborg Summoning, their debut EP. It starts out with a powerful, 1 minute title track. Then, it goes to the very technical Canada, with a jazz section in the middle with the warr guitar and electric guitar. There is an epic on the album, too, titled You Are Number Six. It features a crazy solo by Mick Barr, one of the greatest guitarists of all time. I think, though, that the most technical song on the album is Of Cursed Womb.

I think that Skullgrid was an improvement over Nano Neucleonic Cyborg Summoning, and they are definitely improving. I reccomend this album for the technical metal fan.

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Thanks to TheProgtologist for the artist addition.

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