Monday, October 14, 2013

... an alchemy to develop : ARCADE EYES "s/t" (Album review)

Located in Colmar/Berlin/Stockholm, Azam/Oberg/Klein - respectively on Vocals/Guitar/Drums and members of Crown/Earthship/The Smokin 44's- form this massive project that is ARCADE EYES, about to release its self-titled debut Album this week on Raddatz records.

If you know Earthship, you'll recognize quickly the muscular guitar sound of Oberg, but forget about the Prog' and Post flourishings here, the essence of this project is more to be found in stomping beats, whiskey-soaked growls, 90's wilderness and recklessness too. Basically, the trio plays some groovy Sludge Metal in the vein of the biggest/oldest american monsters of the genre, but they add to it a subtle little dose of neckbreaking heaviness that could remind Gojira and Lamb of God, giving them a kinda modern power that finds a good balance with sludgey distortion.

Oberg offers to Azam a perfect territory of expression, snarling and fed alternatively by a healthy dose of  HC and an Industrial-like slow and noisey dissonance, a large sphere where everyone throws guts and balls to the consistent brew ("Circles of ...", "Tales of Greed", "Waves of Flesh") ! "Iron Tongue" got the fastest tempo with a southern kickass stomping groove, simple but entertaining, this is the kind of song that could make injuries among the fans in live environment !!!  but there's more than usual to expect from the malignant Alsacian with new facets of his extensive vocal abilities... don't forget that this guy is a Metalovore who digs almost everything good from Mötley Crue to Graves at Sea !!! another project could reveal why not glamish vocals someday ?! oh well, for the moment there's a few nice other stops in the 90's with Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, thickening brighter atmospheres with clear and melodic vocal lines and that's fuckin' catchy !!! 

Earthship fans should assuredly like this new project even if possibly finding it a couple of times too close their original fave, for example aren't Azam's plaintive melodic lines too similar to Earthship singer on the opener "Circles of Black Shadows" ? nothing wrong at all with that, Azam makes a stunning performance here, especially considering he did his job separately long afterwards -  all instruments were recorded  one year and a half before, he puted more than the best of himself that's for sure but in the end, there's a palpable lack of unicity, positive conduction in the overall which prevent of absolutely memorable hooks.
On their side, Crown fans won't be in rest, finding some more reasons to dig Steph throaty ways of expression and why not being happy to enjoy some mamoothian (human) drumming !?!

One thing is sure, individually, each one's performance is faultless, although there's one song which sounds strangely uncomplete ("Into the Veil" ending way too abruptly) -  and this is definitely a nice debut of metallic Sludge, punchy and insidiously handsome... but I can't help thinking that in a such overcrowded scene, collusion between musicians recording together and sharing the same intensity of feelings at the same time - often proves in the end to be one of the most important ingredients of a memorable album, in that sense the band needs now to improve as a real entity and not as an addition of individual talents... I'm sure this next step can be achieved, then potencially ARCADE EYES could pretend chairing the European throne of Sludge Metal !

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