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Album Review: Melancholia Hymns by Arcane Roots

UK alt rock trio Arcane Roots release their second album Melancholia Hymns on 15th September via Easy Life/Red Essential. After a four-year wait, this is an album with plenty of expectation behind it. With the quality of the lead singles preceding its release, it’s been tipped that this is the album where Arcane Roots realise all their potential and become the essential UK rock act.

This is an album to lose yourself in. Revel in the strings, electronica, both crushing and intricate riffs whilst getting a sense of light overcoming a severe darkness. If you’re familiar with Arcane Roots and their back catalogue (2 mini albums in Left Fire 2012 and Heaven & Earth 2015 and their debut album Blood & Chemistry 2013) then you’ll be prepared for their sprawling and diverse sound. Melancholia Hymns ramps it up a notch though, the step up in quality is stark and astounding.

With four tracks already being put out, you probably already realise that this is a special album. Where first single ‘Curtains’ saw the band experimenting with an electronica sound, old school fans where appeased with the big intricate riffs of ‘Matter’ and ‘Off The Floor’ along with the unbridled chaos and release of the brilliant ‘Everything [All At Once]’. All four tracks sum up the feel of Melancholia Hymns as a whole.

First track ‘Before Me’ and ‘Indigo’ have a similar feel to ‘Curtains’. The former is a gentle introduction to the album, full of atmospherics and Andrew Groves big poignant vocal, before the latter blends that sound with haunting electronica. Even though the tracks are separated by the superb ‘Matter’, ‘Indigo’ stands out as evidence of how far Arcane Roots have come. It’s so different, but still uniquely Arcane Roots. Haunting and emotive, just lose yourself in the guitar work at the 2-minute mark and the expansive experimental electronica that makes up the final two minutes.

Clocking in at just under 60 minutes and 10 tracks, that should give you some idea of the ambition behind the album. Each track takes you on a journey, throwing you in one direction before going off in a completely different tangent. ‘Off The Floor’ perfectly demonstrates the diversity of the album with it’s quiet analogue beginnings before developing into a powerful and intricate hard rock track. It’s position beside the emotional electronica of ‘Curtains’ makes it even more powerful.

‘Solemn’ has the feel of a more straight forward alt rock track. The big riffs give the track lots of power and excitement, throw in Groves’ brilliant vocal and you’ve got a commanding and affecting track. ‘Arp’ is the go-to track of Melancholia Hymns. It combines the two sides of Arcane Roots, with the electronica setting the pace and atmosphere before the big crescendo comes in at the 3-minute mark and you’re met with an abundance of riffs both heavy and intricate. Wonderful stuff. ‘Fireflies’ revels in electronica before ‘Everything [All At Once]’ comes in as the near perfect alt rock track. The most immediate and powerful track of the album. That is until you hear closing track ‘Half The World’ – emotive, powerful and commanding – you couldn’t want for anything more.

Melancholia Hymns doesn’t disappoint. It’s everything you could want from an Arcane Roots release and more. They’ve exceeded expectations and delivered one of 2017s finest albums.

AD Rating 9.75/10

1 Comment on Album Review: Melancholia Hymns by Arcane Roots

  1. I disagree. It deserves 9.78 or higher.


2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Alt Dialogue’s Readers Poll – 2017 Top 10 Albums – Results – Alt Dialogue
  2. Alt Dialogue’s Top 100 Albums of 2017 Part 2: 50 – 1 – Alt Dialogue

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