Arcane Roots – Blood and Chemistry: Album Review

This year saw the release of Arcane Roots début album Blood and Chemistry. 

At this point some people may be saying, ‘so freakin’ what?’ or ‘who the heck are Arcane Roots?’ (Editor: haha I love this guy’s attempt at not swearing). If you find yourself asking these questions, then thank the rock gods you stumbled across this article.

Arcane Roots use a unique blend of alternative indie and progressive math rock to create a powerful and diverse sound. Blood and Chemistry takes you on a mind-blowingly unpredictable journey through face-melting riffs into sweeping ballad-like interludes and then back again. Rarely has an album had such an impact upon me personally and I dare you not to love it! 

The trio from Surrey consists of guitarist and frontman Andrew Groves, bassist Adam Burton and drummer Daryl Atkins. These guys really know how to write a song that will knock your socks off! Comparisons can be made to the likes of alt rockers Biffy Clyro and all round rock gods Muse, whom Arcane Roots are supporting on the European leg of there world tour, but in my opinion these guys stand in a league of their own. 

The first track on Blood and Chemistry is the aptly named ‘Energy is Never Lost, Only Redirected’. Such a title could not be more appropriate. Arcane Roots’ epic collection is never short of energy, and all of their boundless energy is redirected into the ears and minds of the listener.

As the album progresses one thing becomes clear. Arcane Roots are not afraid to push the limits of structure, incorporating many different musical elements within the same song. Insanely complex riffs and soaring vocals will take you to the edge of a the atmosphere before bringing you back down earth, as the drums cut out and Andrews vocals take over with only his own subtle guitar melody for accompaniment. This complex structure is especially prominent within the second single released from the album, ‘Slow’, amongst others. The intricate structure of each song is what truly defines this album. 

 As you progress through Blood and Chemistry you may start to question whether it is humanly possible for one man to play such elaborate guitar riffs and hit vocal notes with such ease simultaneously. However, you need only watch one of Arcane Roots’ live performances to see that Andrew is no ordinary frontman. His incredible vocals fit seamlessly over unbelievably complex guitar riffs, whilst Adam and Daryl keep the rhythm section tighter than a hipster’s jeans throughout. 

 My personal highlights from the albums include the crazy timing of ‘Sacred Shapes’, the beautifully melancholy feel of the bridge in the song ‘Slow’ and the glorious finger-tapping intro of ‘Triptych’. Arcane Roots earlier material includes masterfully written tracks including ‘Habibity’, ‘Rouen’ and ‘In a Town of Such Weather’ which are all also well worth a listen. 

Blood and Chemistry is Arcane Roots’ first album but I can say with certainty it will not be there last. Supporting Muse for their European tour will only boost the profile of this massively underrated band. Of course, time will tell, but I can only predict big things for Arcane Roots. Big things for a band with a big sound!

Words by Mark Haldon  

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