London’s very own progressive rock three-piece, Arcane Roots, have been blowing minds and shattering eardrums to the delight of fans with a number of well-praised releases reaching back to 2009. Cut to 2017, where the band are now displaying their true credentials with a fully developed electronic-influenced sound in their latest full-length effort, Melancholia Hymns.
Waiting for this to drop after their first single release titled Curtains back in 2016 was as painstaking as it gets. This track alone was a taste of how the band were growing into new and exciting musical territory, but I can honestly say this is one that was truly worth it. The resulting full album is bruising and destructive as much as it is meticulously arranged. Matter perfectly displays this, opening with light vocals and building up to an enthralling onslaught of rolling drums and guitar that on first listen, you struggle to keep up with in the best way.
As Matter drops out, we enter lapping waves of synth that lead perfectly into the next track Indigo, which serves up an orchestral ballad worthy of the highest recognition. Lead vocalist Andrew Groves’ voice is a haunting guide through each of the three different sections of the song, before letting go as we journey through the rest of it with trepidation! That is until Everything (All at Once) appears, where it is made immediately apparent they have created a track that just puts the foot down and hurtles full throttle off a cliff edge, into a breakdown of deadly proportions around the 2:50 mark; a real nod to what they have shown they are best at over the years, particularly in their last full-length Blood & Chemistry.
To put this all in context though, what Arcane Roots have done here with Melancholia Hymns is show what a fantastic and in-tune band they are, to be able to scale up their sound in such an interesting way, and continue to show their songwriting will reach into the most unexpected of areas without any sign of fear at all.