Arcane Roots
Melancholia Hymns


4.0
excellent

Review

by Pistol Pete USER (42 Reviews)
September 22nd, 2017 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Half the heaviness. Triple the emotional payoff.

I’m going to start this review off by saying something that will likely horrify Arcane Roots fans: I am honestly indifferent towards their mathier, heavier roots. I much prefer their more melodic and progressive approach to music now. While there are undoubtedly huge hits from before (eg. “You Are”, “Triptych”), the style tended to be a bit inconsistent and the quality control they show these days is stronger. The thing is though, this band has been hinting at this new style pretty much since the beginning. Some of the strongest tracks on Blood & Chemistry were “Resolve” and “Belief”, both of which were structured in a more melodic and alternative-driven way. “Hell & High Water” is progressive right down to its core, the way it builds up beautifully from a gentle, tender intro. Even on Left Fire, mid-album highlight “Rouen” experimented with this dynamic too, quietly building up to a more alternative rock outburst. They were always going to venture into this territory frequently even if they didn’t decide to make the full switch over. Their latest album Melancholia Hymns is without a doubt the farthest they’ve ever been from their early math/post-hardcore sound and the band sounds just as strong as they did on 2015’s splendid slab of soaring rock that was Heaven & Earth, albeit with a higher dose this time of lush electronics to back the songs.

Fans might be thrown off by the opener this time around, especially for a band known for delivering crushing and emotional songs to kick albums off. “Before Me”, if anything, sets the tone nicely for the peaceful and soaring atmosphere this album aims for. However, it’s not indicative of the entire experience thankfully and songs like “Matter” and “Solemn” reacquaint listeners with the heavier moments of their 2015 EP, the former being a song that’s Muse-like riffs splashing up from the background would not have sounded too out of place on Heaven & Earth. Even though I’d be lying if I told you the screams were abundant here, there are still some reminiscent of their past work. They elect to use them more sparsely and really any time they do incorporate them, it’s at the perfect times (namely the ends of each song). The passionate, mic-dropping outros to “Curtains”, “Solemn”, “Arp”, and “Everything (All at Once)” are essential and they would simply not be complete without the harsh vocals. Elsewhere, “Off the Floor” offers a vibe that is the closest the band gets here to their past work, coming off as a bit of an outlier in this album (but by no means the weakest track). Its catchy chorus and attention-grabbing riffs are actually among the album’s most powerful moments.

What feels new here ends up being some of the stronger aspects of the album. “Indigo” is the shining example of this newer sound. Andrew Groves puts forth some of his best vocal work and the vibrant electronics offer a beautiful backdrop to the entire song. But it’s the patient build-up of the whole piece and eventual piano ballad to close it out that catapult this song atop some of their best work to date. If the tender falsettos over piano don’t tug on your heartstrings even a little, I’m not sure whether you can even be called human.

At a time in the year where seemingly every well-known rock band these days is dishing out albums, Arcane Root’s Melancholia Hymns is a true standout amongst them, offering a more unique blend of progressive rock and alternative. It’s for the music listeners amongst us that don’t need your standard riff-verse-chorus structure and want the emotional payoffs that come from songs that demand more patience from their audiences. Alas, it misses a perfect score because at later points in the album the structure of songs becomes a tad formulaic, but the formula itself is strong and it stands among Arcane Root’s strongest efforts to date, once again indicative of a band with a promising future.



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user ratings (92)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
SouthNortherner (4.5)
A musical journey from start to finish, executed with prowess and raw emotion....

RabbitSeason (4.5)
Refined contrast and beautiful evolution....

Mardorien (3.5)
Basically, imagine a 55-minute version of Curtains, but with more ups and downs....


Comments:Add a Comment 
PistolPete
September 22nd 2017


4451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Didn't originally plan to write another review for this album but some words started pouring out of me and I figured what I was writing was different enough from the other two reviews.

Digging: Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns

JS19
September 22nd 2017


5861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

First sentence all the way. I always thought it was cool, but their tendency towards it was the reason they weren't as big as they should have or could have been. This album chnges that I think and that's positive for their careers

Digging: Helpless - Debt

PistolPete
September 22nd 2017


4451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You make a good point, it was an okay sound but not as accessible. I sure hope they get more exposure they sure as hell deserve it

JesusCage
September 23rd 2017


171 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'I sure hope they get more exposure they sure as hell deserve it' x2



Digging: Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
September 23rd 2017


5400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"(but by no means the weakest track). In fact, it’s one of the stronger tracks."



I'd recommend changing this (especially considering you used the word "stronger" in the next sentence as well). Otherwise a solid review and I'm gonna request a feature for you in the meds.

Digging: Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns

PistolPete
September 23rd 2017


4451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good edit man thanks for pointing it out! I neglect to check for repetitiveness between paragraphs sometimes.

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
September 23rd 2017


5400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was gonna write my own review but after yours I think we've covered most of the bases here so thanks for saving me the time, haha. Hopefully someone on staff grants my feature request.

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
September 23rd 2017


5400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As for the album, I'm hovering around a 4.5 on this, just like everything else they've done. Band is very consistent in quality despite changing up their style.

Lefondre
September 24th 2017


129 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is so god damn good.

Digging: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
September 24th 2017


5400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Half the World is the best thing on here, Solemn is second.

EphemeralEternity
September 24th 2017


2982 Comments


nice analysis ghost

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
September 24th 2017


5400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks.

LethalPaintball
September 25th 2017


547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

im positive i like their previous work more

Digging: White Ward - Futility Report

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
September 25th 2017


5400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Give it time. I was positive too... until I wasn't.

JS19
September 26th 2017


5861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

No their previous work is better

Mardorien
September 29th 2017


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a better, and more thought out review than mine. While mine was honest for the time, I have since developed a taste for this new style. I agree 100% with your review, and I wanted to say that this being the default review is the best thing for this album.

Toondude10
October 1st 2017


11394 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This band can do no wrong

Digging: August Burns Red - Phantom Anthem

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
October 1st 2017


5400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is actually higher than a 4.5 for me, but not quite classic territory.

PistolPete
October 1st 2017


4451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like that I can show a song like Indigo to my friends who dont know them and they can thoroughly enjoy and be curious about them. Really shows the potential for this to reach new audiences.

Evokaphile
October 1st 2017


5309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is my first AR experience and I'm very impressed every time I revisit this



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