I found this next band using one of my five methods of finding new music. After searching Coheed and Cambria’s homepage a year ago, I noticed they were touring with two special guest bands as their openers, one of them whom I instantly fell in love with. Although I did not have the chance to see this band live, I was instantly hooked on their new album. After several listens came a long period of time without hearing their album. Only recently have I put Arcane Roots’ newest album back on my iPhone, and I’ve realized how much I’ve missed it.
Arcane Roots is a three-piece band from England, consisting of Andrew Groves on vocals/guitar, Adam Burton on bass/vocals, and Daryl Atkins on drums. This band definitely falls into the genre of alternative rock, but can even be considered in the genres post-hardcore, indie rock, progressive rock/metal, and math rock. With such a unique sound that varies between soft melodies to dirty vocals and heavy riffs, their newest album “Blood & Chemistry” is definitely worth a listen.
The drums and bass guitar that Atkins and Burton provide in this album contain some seriously heavy and adrenaline-laden riffs throughout the album. Songs like “Resolve” and “Sacred Shapes” are by far the hardest tracks on the album, using a mixture of crashing cymbals and bass pedals on the drums. They perfectly complement both singers, generating a beat matching their tempo. Even in softer songs like “Hell & High Water,” Atkins does an amazing job of creating powerful yet simple drum beats to add character to the song. The drum work is fascinating because Atkins is able to add so much to the atmosphere without taking away from his bandmates.
The best thing about this album is the guitar riffs of Andrew Groves, along with the vocals provided by Groves and Burton. When I listen to this album, I feel as if I’m listening to two different albums: one with a more math-rock and post-hardcore style, the other a more indie rock and progressive rock/metal style. Using complex riffs with varying time signatures, Groves’ sound generates that complicated yet fascinating style of math rock, similar to bands like Fall of Troy and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The most complicated song, “Triptych,” contains great tapping during the chorus, and a bridge section that is difficult to head-bang to because of its time signature changes. Other songs like “Second Breath” and “Resolve” follow this same pattern, using softer tones to change the pace during the verse and chorus. In addition to this harder style of guitar work, Groves also changes his style to a more softer side. Songs like “Belief,” “Hell & High Water,” and “Held Like Kites” use a clean guitar (in some cases an acoustic guitar), helping to bring the listener down from the high generated on the previous song. The mix of clean and dirty guitars makes this album an interesting listen.
On top of the wide variety of sound the band provides, Groves and Burton provide a mix of clean and dirty vocals. Switching between singers, the dirty vocals are interspersed through the album, and do not make up a majority of the vocals on this album. Groves’ vocal range is controlled, yet surprising. Ranging between mid and high notes, his voice is reminiscent of Caleb Followill of the band Kings of Leon. Although not necessarily the strongest voice in my iTunes Library, the meaning and passion behind Groves’ vocals are easily felt by the listener. My favorite song on this album happens to be the song containing Groves’ most powerful performance, “You Keep Me Here.” Closing the album is a song mixed with heavy riffs in the beginning and dreamlike atmosphere in the end. My favorite lyric is within the song’s chorus:
“So save me lady / Open up and give it with some grace / hold on to me / give me one good reason to be here”
The ending of the song reminds me of lost love, and is beautifully portrayed in the end of the song with a repetition of the words with such a passionate instrumental:
“Love, you’re better for me” (source)
Their album “Blood & Chemistry”, clocking in at just under an hour, is a must listen for fans of bands like Kings of Leon, Fall of Troy, Like Vultures, and other bands that fall in the indie rock, progressive rock/metal, and alternative rock scene. This band is definitely arcane as its name states, as I have yet to find another person who has heard of this band before me. Please support Arcane Roots’ “Blood & Chemistry” by visiting their website or finding them on iTunes. If you are enjoying this band, they also have an EP released before this album called “Left Fire.”