Sound — 8
What happens if you mix RHCP, Every Time I Die, Foo Fighters and a lil' bit of SikTh? You get this. Okay, so its not quite that simple. Arcane Roots are a newish band from good Ol' Blighty, being called "one of most promising unsigned underground acts" of the current decade. I guess that's fairly accurate. While not being a full on metal band (often just called alt rock, for the sake of media and the public's difficulty with remembering what funk is), they have many metallic traits associated with mathcore and funk. For instance, they utilize a funk based distortion/guitar tone for their material, but also use double bass pedals for drumming, not in the same way as say, a death metal band, but they instead use this technique to add fills and grooves into the sound. And my word, is there a lot of that. As well as some incredibly addictive high-energy rock/funk fusion rhythms, there's also the odd polyrhythm/time signature groove added in, which is where the ETID/SikTh comparison comes in, because not only do Arcane Roots have the odd technical groove, but they also use high-pitched but more hard rock orientated vocals much in the same way as Keith Buckley, but also use the 'crazy hobo' screaming technique of Mikee Goodman from SikTh. But alongside that is the in your-your-face attitude of early Foo Fighters, and the huge chorus hooks that make bands like Biffy Clyro look so weak. The guitar work is also fairly technical. The song "Million Dollar Que$tion" definitely sounds like it could've come from SikTh's "The Trees Are Dead And Dried Out...", sharing the abundance of sporadic, sometimes dissonant, tight and technical riffing of said album but also combining it with some more traditional hard rock grooves to help balance out their own sound. So with "Left Fire", you're getting a very unique experience. Combining some undoubtedly strange but effective influences to create one whole, unique sound and one that's at times very atmospheric and tense but then explosive and outrageously fun. One band to watch out for.
Lyrics — 8
As mentioned, the vocals on Left Fire are quite diverse. Andrew (I think the singer's Andrew, there's not much info on the band) has that contemporary hard rock sound in his voice and has a very high vocal range, as well as being able to scream his lungs out at a particularly climactic moment (for instance, the single "In This Town Of Such Weather" has the best example of the dual vocal technique). Lyrically, I'd say they're a bit more pop orientated than the music, but with a more realistic and intelligent edge to them. They focus on relationships, but in a more personal way than the cliche'd "She doesn't love me, but I love her, I'll get my revenge, or find someone else" yadda yadda yadda. For example, from "You Are": "If you know who you are when everything falls apart You are If you keep it together when everything comes untethered You are, whole. And if you hold it in, until the sides wear thin You are And when our time is through, you'll see in front of you You are." The lyrics flow well with the music, with each vocal line being well placed and considerate to the balance of the spontaneous nature of the songs.
Overall Impression — 8
If you're into heavy rock, confusingly technical metalcore or looking for a substitute for banal pop music, you gotta get yourself some Arcane Roots. "Left Fire" is a damn good dbut release, showcasing that English rock'n'roll is certainly not dead. Check it out whenever you can. Songs to look out for: 'This Town Of Such Weather', 'You Are', 'Home', 'Million Dollar Que$tion', 'Long And Low'.