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Arcane - Chronicles Of The Waking Dream CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.21 | 139 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Arcane are an Australian prog metal band that will appeal to those who love Riverside or other bands who merge heavy riffs with clear singing and intricate compositions. They have an endearing sound that is creative and moves in unexpected directions with odd time shifts and innovative musicianship. Tracks such as the mini epic 'Asylum: Acolyte Zero' have stunning complex structures, with killer riffs, complex times sigs and inject blends of grinding guitars with delightful melodic keyboards. The lengthy instrumental break features Michael Gagen's polished guitar work along with Matt Martin's keyboard wizardry. Jim Grey does a fine job on vocals, and the rhythm machine of Brendon Blanchard's bass and Blake Coulson's drums are wonderful. The double kick drumming is machine like and the song tends to build into heavier sections with faster singing pentameter at 9 minutes. It breaks into a soft vox and gentle piano, then builds into a symphonic soundscape, and some atmospheric choral voices. This is one of the highlights and really impressed me. Another awesome song is 'Fading' beginning with soft vocals and light guitar touches. The piano is lovely and it builds gradually with lead guitar flourishes and some symphonic keys. When the music fades out there is an a capella section for a moment and then grinding metal riffs break through.

The songs blend into each other to create a seamless musical experience with a conceptual framework that has mystical overtones. It involves a protagonist who is losing his grip on reality, perhaps even becoming deranged, and he becomes obsessed with the date of May 26th to the point where it haunts him and has some enigmatic meaning, though we van never be certain of what it all means. At times it is an unsettling excursion into a mentally unbalanced mind, but musically it is always a sheer delight.

The opening songs feature uplifting piano mixed with darker metal riffs, and the idiosyncratic vocals of Grey. The intro is a disjointed voice explaining the importance of May 26, then the music floats over, very melancholy and soft. It builds to heavier tones and segues into the next track.

The instrumental break in 'The Seer' is reminiscent of Dream Theater, with guitar and keyboard trade offs. Overall this track showcases the style of the band that moves from beauty to darker textures. 'The Malice' has a dreamy feel, and the piano instrumental to follow is beautiful. The climax is with the epic 'Asylum: Acolyte Zero'and then it settles into the closing track, a gentle piece called 'Whisper'.

The style of the album is like Pain of Salvation or Riverside, with beautiful moments juxtaposed by outbreaks of heavy guitars. It is an excellent album and yet another example of Australian prog metal at its finest.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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