Thursday, October 4, 2007
Behold... The Arctopus - 2005 - Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning
"As is typically the case with this type of music, listening to it on CD simply does not do it justice. It must be heard and seen in the live setting for full appreciation. Behold… the Arctopus is one of the better bands falling into that category. And fortunately for us, Metal Blade has reissued the trio’s debut, "Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning," complete with live versions of most of the songs. It still doesn’t match the sensory experience of a concert, but it’s the next best thing.
Behold… the Arctopus plays technical and deranged instrumental music full of hairpin turns and precise stops and starts. The most interesting aspect involves the use of a 12-string warr guitar played by Colin Marston. It occupies a space between bass and guitar, with Marston relentlessly tapping out intricate rhythms. Guitarist Mike Lerner more than holds his own, however, dishing out electrifying fretboard finesse that would raise Eddie Van Halen’s eyebrows. Drummer Charlie Zeleny, as well, gets his time in the spotlight, most noticeably on the drum solo that ends "Estrogen/Pathogen Exchange Program."
Sometimes there’s restraint shown that still possesses amazing proficiency. Other times Behold… the Arctopus goes completely haywire. Parts of "Sensory Amusia" approximate a malfunctioning machine. But if you’ve got the skill, you might as well flaunt it. There’s classical, mood-enhancing passages and methodical, head-splitting metal. As chaotic as the proceedings sometimes seem, this trio plays as fluidly as could be expected, like each member instinctively knows where the others are going.
While the group isn’t trying to be as over-the-top as some Dillinger clones have tried, this music definitely falls into the avant-garde realm. Given its song lengths, lack of vocals and variegated structures, it’s only likely to appeal to a limited group of music freaks. But of those who like their tunes flashy, scholarly and wildly eccentric, this is a must. Even if you consider this one giant wankfest, you must at least bow to the members’ facility and dexterity. And try seeing it live to be fully converted."
1. Exospacial Psionic Aura
2. Estrogen/Pathogen Exchange Program
3. Sensory Amusia