Arcade Messiah

by Eric Loranger

The thought of post-rock can make some people groan. To these people, the genre just seems like work. It can be a real commitment to absorb single riffs that seem to churn on forever, 19 minute songs that don't seem to lead anywhere, and the very noticeable absence of vocals. It's true that there are bands that push the genre to its threshold and can be real sleep-inducers. But let's not let a few bad apples spoil the bunch, because on the flip side of that coin there are post-rock bands that stand outside the box with strong melodies and engaging songs - bands like Arcade Messiah.

On this self-titled debut, John Bassett's one-man band puts forth a body of "dark, bleak, and apocalyptic" sound (Bassett's own spot-on description of the music.) Bassett, frontman of KingBathmat, came off a slew of well-regarded albums starting all the way back in 2003, but took this opportunity to release his first completely instrumental album. Arcade Messiah is a success of head-nodding, air-guitaring progressive music, without any over-the-top showiness that would weigh down some other guitar-driven instrumental music.

None of the songs are overlong or needlessly repetitive, with the average song length around 5 minutes and all that time used wisely. These songs are fronted by lead guitar riffs with character, as in the Torche-sounding opener "Sun Exile," which sets the record off to a good start. Other album highlights include the segue song "Aftermath", a sad and creepy tune with haunting arpeggios; "The Most Popular Form of Escape", which is kicked off with some sweet grooves; and "Everybody Eating Everybody Else", a triumphant sounding fist-in-the-air rocker.

Arcade Messiah is an easy and enjoyable listen for fans of dark, progressive music. While a few growling vocals here and there wouldn't have hurt the music at all (maybe next time?), these seven songs stand strong without a frontman. With the winter rolling in (it's supposed to be a brutal one), here is an album that will suit sunless days and frosty temperatures. Recommended for fans of Red Sparrows and of Agalloch's Ashes Against the Grain album.

The album will be available for purchase December 1st through Stereohead Records. As an awesome side note, if buying the album on Bandcamp, the purchaser can request an autographed copy by leaving a note or messaging Bassett.

Preview and pre-order the album here.

Arcade Messiah

Share this article

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Pin it Share on Reddit email this article

More articles for this artist .