Review Summary: The Arusha Accord produce a masterpiece of a debut LP. Just don't try to count the time signatures...
Just what possessed The Arusha Accord to settle on their band name baffles me. Perhaps they chose it simply because they thought the alliteration sounded nice, or perhaps they did indeed choose to create a subtle irony beneath their music. I like to believe the answer is the later but I doubt it somehow. The Arusha Accords were originally a set of 5 protocols signed in Tanzania in attempt to end the on going Rwandan civil war. What relevance the band has to a peace treaty beats me, but I like to imagine that it somehow reflects the ferocious metal the sextuplet create. A musical riot that somehow reaches harmony in the end.
The Arusha Accord are undoubtedly one of the most talented bands in the UK right now and this debut proves this. ‘The Echo Verses’ portrays musicianship of the highest degree in both song-writing skill and technicality. Here is a ‘math-metal’ band that hasn’t gotten carried away showing of their knowledge of unorthodox chords and polyrhythms, and instead utilises them to create more interesting songs.
The Echo Verses is a 40 minute long assault on the ears. Written with some form of musical ADHD the band never stay in the same time signature for more than a few bars. The recording is a step up from their EP and now we can hear how each instrument is independent in creating each track.
It’s hard to describe the band’s style. They are evidently pioneering their own progressive style, but it’s easy to hear their inspirations. Bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and Sikth have obviously been on their playlists, but also bands like FellSilent and Architects (try comparing the first riffs of the two albums, Hollow Crown and The Echo Verses).
I could easily write a page on each instrument alone, but one element that separates the band from their peers is their bassist Luke. The last track on the album, Last Rise Of The Fallen King, really exemplifies this at the beginning. Hearing this makes it seem a crime that so many bands have just dumped some mate on bass who just chugged the root note of every chord for every song.
Also whenever I see a band with two vocalists in their line up, alarm bells immediately ring for me. It seems like a tool used by bands to give themselves a bit of extra presence live and often makes little or no difference musically. However, although The Arusha Accord vocalists sound quite similar they interchange on the album really nicely and harmonise beautifully on the sung vocals. Obviously they aren’t the first band to enforce this successfully, eg. bands such as Despised Icon and FellSilent, but they create a really nice combination of sung and screamed vocals and it is yet another feature that separates them from the crowd.
Overall, the album as a package flows really nicely. The guitarists show their musicality in the two interludes; The Echo Verses and Solice which are slightly reminiscent of the signature ‘Pod’ tone used by artists like Animals as Leaders. Their songs are absurdly manic in times, and then grooving the next second and that is what I love so much about the band,
It’s a shame that so much of the material is the same as on The Nightmares Of The Ocean Ep. Although the songs are produced slightly better, there isn’t really that much new material. The new stuff is just as amazing as the old, and probably their best. This band is defiantly one to watch out for, especially if they continue writing at this level.