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Album Review: Arch Echo by Arch Echo

Arch Echo release their debut self-titled album on 24th November. The instrumental prog-fusion quintet are collective of young virtuoso musicians and composers, taking influence from jazz, prog rock, metal, contemporary classical and everything in between.

Formed at the world renowned Berklee College of Music, the birthplace of the legendary Dream Theater, the Arch Echo members were typically found writing, practicing, producing, performing, or teaching.  Somehow, amongst their intensive musical schedules, they came together to create a project to push the boundaries of rhythmic, melodic and harmonic possibilities.

Arch Echo’s initial videos, “Earthshine” and “Hip Dipper”, were an instant hit in the progressive community and have already racked up a combined 100k views on YouTube, prompting the band to write and record their debut full-length.

Big expectations? Well brace yourselves, this takes prog rock to the next level. Opening track ‘Earthshine’ starts off with touches of Rush and bags of potential, then comes the noodling guitar work. Fuck me, it’s a lot to deal with. It’s good but there’s just so much high-pitched guitar extravagance to cope with.

If you can cope with the guitar work, then you can’t help but admire the musicianship here. However, it all falls apart when the keyboard parts come into play. They’re an unnecessary addition to ‘Afterburger’ and make ‘Hip Dipper’ into a track that you can’t help but cringe at. ‘Color Wheel’ is where the wheels really fall off the album and it becomes pretty much unlistenable. Why you’d think it would be a good idea to mix Rush with EDM and the backing to a soul ballad is beyond me but obviously somebody in the Arch Echo camp thought they were onto a winner here.

The intro of ‘Bloom’ gives you some hope of a good track before you’ve got through the first 30 seconds and you’re into the land of unnecessarily extravagant guitar work and horrible keyboards. The final three tracks follow the same suit with ‘My Heart Sometimes’ being the combination and cumulation of everything that was wrong with the album

AD Rating 4/10

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