EP REVIEW: Balance – Arcaeon

Reading and London-based progressive metalcore outfit ARCAEON have burst onto the scene in 2018 with their blistering debut EP Balance. Clocking in at 26 minutes over five tracks, Balance is the perfect example of the sort of talent the UK tech metal scene is brewing in its youth at present.

Taking influence from heavyweights such as NORTHLANE, INTERVALS, and SIKTH, ARCAEON channel their heroes respectfully and skilfully, with soaring, anthemic choruses heading seamlessly into dirty, slap-bass verses with aggressive and powerful harsh vocals. Comprised of William Alex Young on vocals, Sam Machin on guitars and backing vocals, Rhys Thomas on guitar, Eifion Sweet on bass and Joe Farrell on drums, they showcase both talent and individuality on each track – a pairing hard to come by in the genre nowadays.

The record opens with Endeavour, which runs from a tasteful instrumental section to start off with, straight into chunky riffs and choppy, technical verses reminiscent of SIKTH. Arguably one of the strongest on the record, the chorus brings in the epic, soaring sounds typical of the progressive genres, whilst the verses skilfully weave in technical riffs without sounding contrived or pretentious. Worth mentioning at this point also, is the professionality and raw punchiness of the production. Other efforts from bands in the genre at this point in their career get away with far shoddier production, whilst the boys from ARCHAEON provide an industry standard mix that would be welcome from any of the more popular bands in the genre.

The lead single of the release is Fade, opening with a fast, brutal and aggressive metalcore section which runs seamlessly into a chorus which harks back to tech-metal legends MONUMENTS, a band also channelled by ARCAEON through their groovy, slap-bass made popular by MONUMENTS bassist Adam Swan. Other bands are also paid homage to in Fade, with the solo being a wonderful sonic tribute to INTERVALS Aaron Marshall.

Mind’s Eye keeps the pace going fantastically, something many bands struggle to achieve on early releases. However, the placement of this track is spot on – running with the pace and ambition of the first two tracks whilst retaining its own individuality. The harsh vocals shine particularly on this track, as a full vocal range is skilfully explored. More MONUMENTS-esque sounds are respectfully used towards the end of the track to great effect – plummeting basslines and pick scratching add to a heart-pounding rhythm section pulled off with great precision.

Dysaxis sets itself out from the other tracks on the record with its catchy chorus, arguably putting the choice of Fade as the lead single in question. Again, the production quality, especially on the clean vocals on this track, is astounding for a debut release. Eifion Sweet lays down some incredibly dirty bass on this track, making it an all-round triumph for the band, and undoubtedly a soon-to-be live favourite.

Possibly the only point in the EP where the pace is let up slightly is the ballad-esque closer of Legacies, which may have been better saved for an album rather than an EP as the change in pace from the rest of the tracks seems a little inconsistent. Aside from its placing in terms of the other tracks, however, Legacies still holds up as a great song, with some fantastic hooks and a tastefully placed female vocal section at the end of the song.

Overall, this debut from ARCAEON is very, very exciting indeed. Here’s to hoping that 2018 brings them deserved success on the live circuit so they can set up for a blinding debut album. Definitely ones to watch for this scene.

Rating: 8/10

Balance - Arcaeon

Balance is out now via self-release.

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