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Arcade Messiah - Diagnosis CD (album) cover


Arcade Messiah


Experimental/Post Metal

2.33 | 5 ratings

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2 stars Arcade Messiah is the Experimental/Post Metal solo project for John Bassett, founded in Hastings, UK. The project began releasing albums in 2014 and has since released 4 full length albums, the fourth album being "Diagnosis" released in August of 2019. Bassett plays all instruments on this 5 track release which has a total run time of over 42 minutes. The album can be purchased on Bandcamp at a "name your price" rate.

Beginning a bit soft and reserved, the title track "Diagnosis" (8:10) soon finds it's feet with a fast build to a heavier sound and soon Bassett begins vocals with a slightly raspy voice and heavy riffing to support it between verses. There is a slight post metal attitude to the sound, but at the end of the 2nd verse, the music gets darker and a bit heavier. The guitar often returns to the melodic riff and bases much of the instrumentation off of that riff. The beat constantly alternates between fast tempo on the verses and moderately slow on the chorus. After 6 minutes, the music lightens up a bit and some interesting effects are added to the guitar and vocals as the music sort of floats along to the ending.

"Sleep Phoenix" (13:38) begins soft and pensively with synths and keys, almost a complete opposite of the previous track. Nice chiming guitars come in taking up the repeating arpeggio patterns and a post rock style descending melody begins as the synth creates a soft drone in the background. As the music continues, it floats between guitar layered patterns and maintains a moderately slow pace. It's nice for about the first 5 minutes, but not much changes in this time as it starts to drag along. You can start to detect some micro-tonal dissonance between the 6th and 7th minute, but this resolves rather quickly and soon goes back to the seemingly unending patterns that refuse to really develop into anything. 10 minutes in, and still no real changes coming out of all of this, and the sleep part of the title becomes evident, and you keep hoping for the phoenix part of it all to rise out of the ash heap of directionless guitar patterns. It doesn't happen.

"No Dishonour" (3:54) sees Bassett try for a Steven Wilson style track, but it doesn't work out too well for him here. The lack of dynamics and emotion really stand out instead. At this point, the album runs out of new material quickly and the next track is only an instrumental version of the title track (8:08). I guess if there is a track to repeat here, it should be this one as it is the only real interesting thing on the album. But did we really need it twice, unless this is really an EP in disguise, which is what it all comes across as. The last track is a remix of "Hell By Default" (6:48), the original version of which is on the EP of the same name which was released earlier in 2019. As of yet, I haven't heard the original version, so I can't really compare it. The heavier tone of it is nice, and it is somewhat similar in tone to the title track of this album, but I'm not sure if the original needed to really have a remix, and to add it to this somewhat lacking album doesn't really help things out too much.

So, in the end, I'm a little confused as to what this album was trying to accomplish, and it would have made more sense to be considered an EP instead and could have easily left the instrumental version of the title track off. There is also the fact that "Sleep Phoenix" takes up way too much time on the album also, and doesn't really go anywhere. The bright side is that you can name your price for this album, but I wonder if it is worth the trouble.

TCat | 2/5 |


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