Review Summary: Something for everyone who thinks sumeriancore shouldn't have the monopoly on spacey/sciency mood in their music.
Creating really good music in general requires three things: the ability to utilize harmony, rhythm and melody; the ability to take what others have done before and mix it in new, creative ways; songwriting. Most bands that create really good music fulfill all of these criteria, but in case of The Arcane Order and the album "The Machinery of Oblivion" especially the part about copying others' sounds and making it their own seems to stand out.
Indeed, on their debut album these Danes seem to have made it a point to cram in as many influences as they possibly could. And yes - they succeeded. Not only that in fact - the interesting part is that they have managed to do it in a way where it neither jeopardizes songwriting quality, nor comes across as blatant plagiarism. And that is something not many bands can do.
The sound on this album, which they have departed from heavily on their next album in favor of black metal, is modern melodic death metal built upon a thrash metal framework. Sounds familiar? Well, obviously: early Soilwork comes to mind. Many riffing and drumming patterns do indeed heavily mirror the Swedish band's early style, yet the use of ambient electronics and symphony is much more prevalent and tasteful than Soilwork could accomplish even in their finest years, being more reminescent of older Scar Symmetry. The riffs also bring Arch Enemy and Carnal Forge to mind on more than one occasion. The overall mood, though, is closer, though not identical, to what the band Divinity plays, while the thrash element is in my opinion handled better than the neo-thrash band Sylosis does it - "The Machinery of Oblivion" offers a sound that is really heavy, very melodic and thrashy, yet with that spacey, sciencey ambience that not many metal bands care to try to accomplish these days - and if they do, they either have hardcore influences or are doomed to obscurity. It is also worth mentioning that this album is from the year 2006, so it in fact preceded most of the more-known metal bands that sound similar, without being any worse in terms of quality. Saying that The Arcane Order inspired the younger artists is definitely a stretch, but they might as well have.
It's fortunate that bands such as The Arcane Order, Allegaeon and Divinity still spring up every now and then and promote the modern, futuristic sound which at the same time preserves all the rightful intensity of metal and achieves the mood only through subtle touches rather extensive symphony and electronics like Sybreed. "The Machinery of Oblivion" keeps the synths firmly in the background, where they are audible yet never overbearing - they serve to enhance the mood, yet don't lead in creating it. There is plenty of fun to be had with the aggressive riffing, very good guitar solos and slight futuristic touches that this album offers.
Since The Arcane Order's following album, "In the Wake of Collisions", departs rather heavily from the sound found here - while also a fantastic album in its own right, the reviewed album is your only option with this band if you like pronounced thrash metal influences in your melodeath. And if you like that kind of songs well-written.