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Arachnoid - Arachnoid CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 146 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Arachno´d's only album is a late addition to the original prog period and threatens to outdo most of what came before - too late to be considered revolutionary but in good standing to be considered the best example of refined symphonic progressive rock.

"Le Chamandere" starts a little coyly, but soon blossoms into a buzzsaw of Ange-tinged guitar and synth fury; any part of the song would be an appropriate leitmotif for a moody anti-hero, as it is both heroic and ugly, disciplined yet hectic. This lengthy song about a word I can't seem to find in my french dictionary is composed of many segments and shifting moods, but it flows correctly - unlike many of their peers, Arachno´d's songwriting could never be said to be hasty and slapped together, and there are no unnecessarily contrived moments on the album. Considering that it was written in the disjointed era of post-punk, that touch might win it a star just by itself.

"Piano Caveau" is perhaps more unsettling, with a sequence that snatches the root chord away from you immediately, and then suspends you in frosty church organ chords and sudden attacks of strained vocals that fade in and out. All the musicians have a lot of space to impress during this track, and impress they do. "In the Screen Side of Your Eyes" initially feels a little traditional in comparison, as though a troubadour with a taste for King Crimson's early albums had seen fit to write a tribute, but don't distress - there are still surprises in store, and for those still not satisfied, a succession of fragile melodies awaits - at the last, it's another Arachno´d song rather than the sum of their influences. "Toutes ces Images" follows on more or less immediately (although perhaps not on the LP version - I have a feeling that the split lies between these songs) with a similar feel and consistency but progresses to rock out with plenty of soloing over busy rhythms boosted by solemn choruses. Despite the power of the song, it remains in a minor key throughout and gets downright sinister in places. The piece gets so tempestuous and apocalyptic that only King Crimson's "Fracture" can be comparable in menace and quality. This isn't the longest song, but for me, it is the centrepiece.

Next, we have "Le Guepe" which opens in a fashion not dissimilar to Art Zoyd's flights of doom-laden fancy, before introducing a rather bluesy guitar component. No vocals until you're three minutes in, at which time you're treated to a somewhat muffled conversation. I'm no good with the french language so I might be missing something essential - and that's always a worry with these theatrical progressive outfits - but the tone of the voices do well to amplify the intimidating approach of the music beneath. Oh, and there's that scream.

"L'Adieu au Pierrot" attempts to re-introduce moments of less macabre beauty - the song is thoughtfully composed and not over-orchestrated. Finally, we have the appropriately named "Final" which opens in a manner similar to our contemporary post-sludge bands such as Isis; however, once the song gets going it reveals itself to be another hectic storm based around alternating, vicious solos. It's a great closer with a justifiable amount of bombast. (Bonus tracks come next, but I never review those things, and frankly it's better for the albums score if I don't consider them at all.)

If you like your progressive rock as black as night, alchemically inventive and mostly unsullied by vocals, Arachno´d won't fail you.

laplace | 4/5 |


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