Listening to Arcadea and their self-titled debut may be as insane an action as the band themselves. I preface this review by saying I’m a late bloomer to the party when it comes to listening to Mastodon, as most people rave on about. One day… one day. Anyways, awoken with bravado and first reaction in listening to this is: “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” Brann Dailor (Drums – Mastodon), along with Raheem Amlani (Withered – Guitars & Zruda– Guitars/Keys) have created a soundscape bizarre enough to take one on a dimensional journey beyond sight and sound. Tracks like Army of Electrons will make you think like you are listening to a new variation of the Transformers theme or that you’re on a journey with Rick & Morty into dimensional madness. If you are accustomed to bands like Rush and Styx, this is nothing like it, but it could mentally prepare you for the immunity to an otherwise imminent psychotic episode.
The first single, Gas Giant, is pure synth and drum madness, descending into a maelstrom of brilliance. With synth lovers of the universe drooling over the layers in this track, it is mercilessly complimented by Dailor’s insanely good prog rhythms running rampant and is held together by the smoothest of vocal delivery. This album is pure Sci-Fi, folks, as Rings of Saturn cements this thought, and pretty much every track on the album. Were one to see this band live, I’d expect nothing less than one hell of an over-the-top light and visual show that would impress even the lads from Pink Floyd. Neptune Moons continues the journey through the galaxy and the title truly matches the flow of this track. Perhaps Arcadea have seen the movie Barbarella a few times? Because this album would fit like a glove in the pocket. Jane Fonda would approve.
Infinite End probably sits as this reviewer’s favourite track on the album, with its snarling beats and steady rhythm holding one hell of a tight groove. Dailor puts on quite the drum master class on this album and drum geeks will lose their minds to some of the insane fills and accents on display. Electromagnetic is a case example amongst the many bizarre tracks here. This album is a true cosmic saga, as Motion of Planets continues the odyssey, yet with a more abrasive verse vocal and some really cool grooves that make this a standout too.
The Pull of Invisible String opens with one hell of a cool snare roll build up into slightly awesome, complex Dailor-initiated fury that cascades into fill-after-fill of drumming brilliance that is no mean feat at all. Impressive! Prepare spare underwear for just over 4 minutes of drumming – WTF. Oh yeah, and the rest of the track is undeniable as well. Amlani could make Jon Lord rise from the grave on this track. Through the Eyes of Pisces calms things down – if that’s even possible – into a dreamscape of an ethereal stasis of suspended animation. Meanwhile, Worlds Can Go On prepares and gives brief interlude before Magnificent Façade takes the journey home, or does it? You feel like you’re witnessing either a finale of sorts or a build up to the “To Be Continued” anti-climax that could make one burst with anticipation or relief that this bizarre journey is over. Fellow listeners, you will sit either flabbergasted or light up, sit back and enjoy the mind-altering, mind-expanding ride; or just dance in wild joy. Let it be known, “Arcadea” will warm to even this blackened soul, as a very impressive effort in prog Sci-Fi.
It’s 70/100, but a 100/100 for the insane drumming!
“Arcadea” is OUT NOW on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. Grab your copy via the link below: