The story of 2012′s music for me is how many bands in the so-called sub-genres are actually outshining releases from many major artists. Not that this disparity is rare, but more likely that the cream is really rising to the top and discerning fans’ ears are bleeding for more than the swoopy haired masses have been able to deliver. Once gain the fine folks at Black Market Activities, who just released the terrific new GAZA album, have brought you another gem that you might not hear if you shop only at Hot Topic.
BEHOLD THE ARCTOPUS is complex instrumental music for complex minded people of taste, who want to hear something other than you typical heavy music experience. The band literally challenges the listener’s ears and wits for the entirety of Horroscension, and it’s a good thing. The band is led by top notch producer/musical mad genius Colin Marston (also of DYSTRHTHMIA/KRALICE/ BYLA/GORGUTS) on Warr Guitar, Mike Lerner, on guitar and Weasel Walter (THE FLYING LUTTENBACHERS) on drums. Each player is a genius in their own right and the playing ability collectively can rival the best any band has to offer. The artwork once again rendered by Terry Grow, who delivers an image that matches the albums’ fierceness.
“Disintegore” continues where the band left off on Skullgrid, emphasizing mind-fucking riffs and top-flight musicianship. Like a mad scientist smashed together the most brilliant guys to play Prog, Tech Death, Jazz-influenced weirdness and classic Noise-core, the music is written in a way that actually makes sense. Short, manic blasts of themes clash and contrast with Marston doing a lot of the heavy lifting musically early on. Weasel Walter is an inspired choice to replace Charlie Zeleny on the throne. His non-stop crazy patterns are going to drive drum students nuts for years. “Monolithic Destractions” serves up more of the same ingredients with, different styled results. Discomforting, jazz-inflected chords and modal guitar parts are jarring to the senses. There is even a bit of a MESHUGGAH homage towards the middle of the track that is pretty cool. Lerner adds a lot of color with his shredding scales and finger-defying licks. The track “Horrorsentience”, from whence the title of the album comes from, just shines. There is a feeling of drama building throughout the track, not unlike a great work of Jazz, but much heavier and crazy. One thing Marston does that few Warr players do is keep actual bass lines going a lot of the time, rather than forgo that concept altogether. Halfway through the cut an ominous theme takes over; as if the musical cue in a slasher film you were watching just started and the killer is about jump out and stab someone. “Deluge of Sores” crushes and is the most straight-ahead (for this band) death metal of all of the tracks, Short and to the point, it is brutal and cleverly written. “Putrefucktion” is simply bananas. A little over one minute long stream of 300 BPM blasts and insane double-bass, all the while madness inducing scales are played with supreme intensity and accuracy. The final cut “Anihilvore” continues with the epic playing. At ten and half minutes long, the song definitely has the feel of being cut into movements, and never feels disjointed in spite of its ambitious nature. This album should come with a wash cloth for all the music school geeks who will need to hose themselves down after just one listen.