It's hard to be a band that can be confident in a sound so different from anything else out there. Even harder is to really own the sound and create something incredible out of it at every given opportunity. Arcane Roots has been and forever will be the band that spearheads that idea. Time and time again, the band's immense and chaotic sound is crafted into something unique with every chord. Arcane Roots' Melancholia Hymns is the sound of perfect musical evolution, marking a change for the band in the best ways possible.
The singles from Melancholia Hymns really showed the band's versatility. Lead single 'Curtains' was the biggest way of introducing their new electronica-laced sound, the dramatic song featuring mid-album but still maintaining its haunting presence. The dark and oppressive synths underlie Andrew Groves' all-knowing lyrics, the progressions moving deeply before the dramatic drop comes in, pounding guitars and giant drums adding the destructive force of Arcane Roots into the eerie buildup. Groves explodes with maniacal screams and massive riffs, ending as dramatically as the began as a brooding noise leads into the next track. The sense of expiration the song gives you and the flawless combination of electronic and heavy rock is everything Melancholia Hymns brings together, and this was only the first taste of it.
Arcane Roots took all the creative liberties they could on this record. From the noise-induced intro of 'Believe Me' that falls into a gorgeous build to the jazz-infused intro of 'Off The Floor' that bursts into a true Arcane Roots anthem, this album goes through every motion that Arcane Roots is capable of creating. There are just some genuinely creative songs on this album, such as 'Indigo,' a song with so many parts but unmatchable fluidity. Grover's lyrics tell a more personal story, taking an almost pop-oriented direction in the sense of melody, the words taking a much more honest approach: "Falling back into myself / I'm running, waiting on someone to reach out again" and "Just say the word, I'll go, if that's what you're saying" being particularly real for the band. Pair it with its gorgeous progression and it's a real masterpiece. 'Fireflies' is a song that really prioritizes its meaning, the enchanting synths washing over the track, building more powerfully at every chorus, Groves singing out in pain, chanting "So don't you feel the covers as they fade / Ripples in an ocean all the same... So help me forget" above otherworldly sounds. 'Arp' is another incredibly creative song, transitioning from a spiraling electronic song to an epically chaotic track that'll melt your face off like Arcane Roots know how to do so well.
On the topic of melting your face off, Arcane Roots is no stranger to that. In fact, they're essentially the number one band to be able to do that. Previous efforts Blood & Chemistry and Heaven & Earth had some of modern rock's biggest moments in songs like 'Slow Dance' and 'Triptych.' Melancholia Hymns is no different, most songs having some huge breakdown at some point. 'Matter' begins with a dark sound but explodes into chaotic fury that takes Arcane Roots to an entirely new level. The riffs never stop, the epic, urgent drive of 'Solemn' and its awesome energy and 'Everything (All At Once)' with its thick riffs and violent bridge giving a lot of power in the latter half of the album. Closing track 'Half The World' doesn't leave the album on an epic note, but still serves as a powerful ending with a different dynamic. It builds up to take the record out on a somewhat somber note, the final words singing out "Be yourself when you're full of doubt / Hold onto the reigns... Be yourself when you're calling out, know that we're the same / Keep your hands upon the wheel," offering a final sentiment of encouragement to bring the record out.
After listening to Melancholia Hymns, it's hard to really grasp everything that came at you. It's Arcane Roots in a new light, but at the same time their finely tuned sound is more profound and powerful than it ever has been. Every note is powerful, charged with so much passion and meaning that it's hard to fathom how something can be so visceral. Arcane Roots' Melancholia Hymns is the sound of perfect musical evolution, making one of the world's finest bands an even more powerful force. Don't even get me started that this is only their sophomore album.
Favorite Tracks: Curtains, Indigo, Matter, Fireflies, Off The Floor
Least Favorite Track: Solemn
Rating: 98 / 100
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