Behold the Arctopus - _Arctopocalypse Now... Warmageddon Later_
by: Brian Meloon (4.5 out of 5)
This NYC three-piece (formerly known as "We Need a Drummer" on play an innovative brand of jazzy metal/rock. You should have some idea of what to expect just from looking at the instruments they play: "lead drums", "lead guitar", and "12-string super guitar" (which I suppose is something similar to a Warr Guitar or Chapman Stick). It's hard to pin down exactly who they sound like, but their sound is syncopative, technical, and completely instrumental. They blend elements of jazz and fusion with metal, while incorporating influences from guitar spankoff, progrock, and probably other genres that I'm not so familiar with. I noticed some elements of Voivod, Primus, Richie Kotzen, Greg Howe, Spastic Ink, and a few others represented in their music. But these influences are the minority of their sound, as their style seems mostly original.

They seem to prefer individual-note guitar lines (using both dissonant and consonant harmonies), but they use a fair amount of (dissonant and power) chords as well. Much of the variety in their music stems from their use of different rhythms and tempos, which change quite rapidly at times. Yet the band doesn't change things too quickly; they usually take the time to develop each section a little before moving on to the next one. Still, the longer of the two songs here, "You Will Be Reincarnated as an Imperial Attack Spaceturtle (Part 1)", clocks in at over eight minutes, and does seem to lose a little bit of focus at times. As you would expect, there are a lot of solos and other show-off sections sprinkled through their songs. These are generally well done, and the playing is excellent from all of the members. Their tightness is especially impressive given the technicality of the material. The production is a little noisy, but doesn't really detract from the music; in fact, it gives them a more raw and chaotic feel. Ultimately, this is a promising demo from a very talented and original band. It should be enjoyed by fans of technical metal and math-rock as well as fans of the more avantgarde.


(article published 25/5/2004)

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