Have you ever had an album come up and surprise you? Have you been intrigued by cover only to find that the album was not at all what you expected? I had that experience recently, when I finally put in Arcade Messiah’s latest album “III.” I was not quite prepared for what I found. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was not expecting what came out. And to the surprise of no one in my house, Arcade Messiah is from Ireland. Seriously, the best musicians are from Ireland, I will stand by that remark forever.
III is a crazy, prog/doom ride through a kaleidoscope of sound and color. Does sound of color? Even to someone who’s color blind like me can appreciate the various tones and textures to III and how they relate to a color. It might not make sense to you, to be honest it doesn’t make complete sense to me either at times, but think about it. Close your eyes while you listen to III after you read the review. The sound creates a sort of color wheel in your mind’s eye.
But that’s not the focal point I want to make with this review. No, I’d like to focus more on the story like construction of the album. There’s not really a story, per se, but the structure of the album (which nearly entirely devoid of vocals) has a very chapter and verse kind of quality. Each song has a very distinct and self-contained when observed song by song, but themes develop and are displayed when you look at the album as a whole. There are characters, read notes, riffs, and melodies, that appear in some chapters and disappear in others. Some songs move slow while others move quickly. It makes the album more compelling, even though there are no lyrics and vocals to follow, the storyline, despite a lack of actual story, is fascinating and complex.
When you listen to III, or anything by Arcade Messiah, you cannot help but notice the passion that the music has. Every good album has passion in it of course, it’s kind of a requirement to decent albums, but the passion on III is different, the passion literally feels like it’s bleeding into the music itself. Maybe it’s just the way the doom and prog are melded together to create some sort of weird hybrid occult rock kind of thing but each note has a deep significance. The production, clean, crisp, and calculated, enhance every single note and sound. Each song has a special significance to the album. A lot of albums I like are not haphazard amalgamations of songs but carefully selected pieces that work together in congress to make a perfect hour or half hour. They aren’t just thrown together because they were written at the same time (even though they likely were) but because they are pieces in a large puzzle. The artist might have a picture in their head of what they want the album to come out looking like but oft times the finished product is more complex and intricate than even they planned. Albums like III tend to take on a life of their own. The guitars, bass, and drums evolve and their sounds become deeper and richer each time you listen. Arcade Messiah might not be my preferred style all the time but when I listen to it, I know I will be taking a wild, crazy ride. Check it out!
Listen and support!