LOUDER REVIEWS: 'Cascadence' -Arcaeon
Newcomers to the British progressive world, Arcaeon are made up of Stuart Sarre (vocals), Eifion Sweet (bass), Rhys Thomas (guitar), Sam Machin (guitar) and Joe Farrell (drums). Based in London and Reading, the five-piece have quickly made a name for themselves within the local tech metal scene thanks to their 2018 EP Balance as well as a host of UK festival performances and support slots for the likes of Carcer City and The Arusha Accord. Now they come roaring into 2021 with their debut full-length album 'Cascadence'. Blending together various elements of metalcore, technical and progressive metal and djent makes Arcaeon an engaging listen. This sound, coupled with the loose concept behind the record of a turning point from a wasteland to a utopian future, this is an album that has the potential to peak many people’s interest before they even press play.
Following the short introductory track, the album explodes into an atmospheric cacophony of sound on 'Origin of Dreams' which hooks the listener in straight away. The guitars and drums work flawlessly in tandem (and with a lovely little guitar solo in the middle for good measure) while new vocalist Sarre already proving equally adept at both piercing highs and brutal lows that have drawn comparisons to the likes of Periphery and others in the djent movement. 'Ghost in the Machine' continues the whirlwind of different sounds and ideas that manage to blend together well without becoming overly chaotic. The brutality of the band’s heavier moments is interspersed well with lighter moments to break things up. Although, there is an exception to this in the next track 'Replicant' which is just gloriously heavy from start to finish. 'Ezekiel’s Wheel' slows things down a little as it brings the layered melodies along with the more powerful elements, which are still there even if toned down.
The centre pieces of the record, 'Zenith Parts I and II', are the most progressive pieces of the music, taking the listener through an expansive soundscape of various harmonies and layers and showcasing once again how Arcaeon are able to be fused together a wealth of different concepts into something that still has its own fundamentally core sound. The intensity continues with 'Beyond the Spires/Beneath the Canopy', as the bands adds electronic sounds to the mix before Farrell’s drums and Sweet’s bass pummel the listeners with a wall of noise that the rest of the band is able to follow up; while 'Heretic' is another furious blend of screams and technical guitar work from Thomas and Machin. 'Cascade' meanwhile is possibly the most accessible song on the record for non prog fans as clean vocals take over for a memorable groove-laden melody. As the record draws towards its uplifting conclusion, 'An Endless Sky' provides yet more variety of different sounds and the record draws to a close with 'Ode to Unknown' which gives listeners another whirlwind tour of the band’s musical repertoire.
As debut records go, 'Cascadence' is as good as it gets. The technical skills of all five members of Arcaeon is unquestionable, but rather than attempt to show off at every given opportunity, they make their playing count with irrepressible hooks and grooves while also giving a wealth of variety for listeners to engage with. The guitar work is expressive, the drums flawless, the bass powerful and the vocals are always on point. There is a real power and beauty consistent throughout 'Cascadence' that will stick with listeners for some time afterwards and manages to add something fresh, relevant and urgent to a saturated genre.
'Cascadence' is out now as a self-release - stream the record here:
Check out the video for 'Zenith II: Arcadia' below. The video also comes alongside a Gameboy game, hand-crafted by the band themselves - access it here: