Band: Arcade Messiah
CD Title: II
Label: Independent Release (2015)
Rating: Satisfying 3/5
As the title says, this is album number two for Arcade Messiah, a musical project from Kingbathmat’s John Bassett. The new release features eight instrumental tracks clocking in at just over forty minutes. These are compositions of varying lengths, just over one-minute to over eight that are brimming with notes. With no vocals to contend with the focus is on the guitar and Bassett does an admirable job introducing a varied musical palette. It would be easy to just play fast and loud but that’s far from the case here as the music of Arcade Messiah is layered with textures and instrumental virtuosity. True it’s on the heavier side but even at that the music stops and starts allowing it room to breathe and the listener to take a breath. The music has been called experimental and certainly it avoids following the well-worn path of what might be called the “solo-guitar-album” given that there’s so much more going on here than the obvious guitar playing. The compositions are intricate without being overly complex so as to lose the listener. Songs shift from heavy crunch riffing to more sequential notes to layers of sonic textures. These layers are then embellished a Progressive Rock sensibility of shifting time, tempo and musical dynamics that goes together to produce music that is deceptively engaging even while being loud and aggressive. That said there are lots of contemplative moments that provide a very satisfying contrast to the more raucous segments. The music of Arcade Messiah will have an obvious appeal to lovers of heavier Prog-Metal but I think there’s more to the music than that and fans of heavy prog of the Japanese variety such as Gerard will find much to appreciate here as well. Well done.