The Arusha Accord

Nightmares Of The Ocean

Written by: AP on 11/08/2009 23:55:27

Some of you may have noticed that the British underground is currently bustling with promising acts hoping to make a name for themselves. Unfortunately only few of them ever make it past a demo or two, and even fewer beyond the borders of their own counties. Then there are those bands with a unique enough sound to thrust them toward international success. One of these hopefuls is The Arusha Accord who broke into underground stardom two years ago from one of the isles' metal meccas, Reading. The band first caught my eye some months back whilst scrolling through Basick's roster by way of their influences, which include, among others, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Sikth. Once again this chaos-enthused scribe could not resist.

But to describe what this six-piece sounds like turns out to be harder than it sounds. Most of you will not even be familiar with the bands to which comparisons should be drawn (Sikth, Periphery, Fellsilent and to some extent, also Callahan), and even then the sheer inventiveness and originality of the music will not have been done any justice. Because if you thought the latest and greatest by Architects was technical, you have seen nothing yet. I am told by those who have witnessed it that the live shows of The Arusha Accord are quite the spectacle, too, but listening to these four tracks (and an interlude) it becomes difficult to fathom that this is possible. Without making it sound like some random jam session, there is no clear structure to the songs - meaning that rather than repeating your usual verse-chorus-verse pattern, the songs are in a state of constant progression, moving through spazz-out shred attacks to glistening passages of sinuous bass and clean scalar runs on the guitar. It's like dashing through the Chernobyl disaster zone past areas of pristine beauty which descend just as quickly into decaying fields poisoned by toxic waste. It's both fascinating and terrifying all at once.

What sets the band apart from many of their contemporaries is that each song sounds genuinely distinct, thanks to the unreal instrumental prowess of its every member. As a minor drawback, however, the chaotic variations in speed and thereby the complex time signatures that follow do not sound as refined and seamless as those of, say, The Dillinger Escape Plan. But the band members' young age and relative lack of experience considered, it really is difficult to slate them for a few cosmetic flaws. Hell, the production alone annuls those flaws. Joey Sturgis has been kept at bay, locked away with his thousands of genericore clients, and instead every instrument, the vocals included, have been given equal prominence in the mix. Ah, I cannot even begin to explain what kind of pleasure it brings to actually hear the bass guitar, especially when its player does not merely restrict himself to providing rhythm, but lets rip with actual licks.

You may have guessed from my mentioning that this is a six-piece, that we are dealing with two vocalists here. Not in the usual one screams, the other sings setup, but in a fascinating two-tone harmony (yes, even when they scream) which pans the vocals into a dizzying spin across left and right throughout. Often the mere mention of two vocalists will have people flinch in fear of a total lack of dynamics, but the interplay between the two brothers here is entirely commendable, both during the screamed and the sung sections. You may also have guessed from the influences and my rambling (read: attempting to describe the band's sound somehow in a clear and coherent manner) that this band is also impossible to lump into any one genre. However, because I know that many of you would appreciate to know at least what genre would be the closest guess, let's just put it on some imaginary border between mathcore and progressive (post-)hardcore.

So what then is the final verdict? Well, with every listening session the songs reveal more and more detail and while this certainly isn't an album to listen to for memorable choruses, there are plenty of reasons to come back for more. It's an album to immerse yourself in, so as to become one with the psychotic, schizophrenic madman that evidently inspired it. Granted, it isn't easy listening, but then again, how many of the bands I tend to recommend are? Judge for yourself, but mark my words: you will not find a more technically competent band of such young age, and with the demise of Sikth some years ago, here is an excellent candidate to inherit the twisted throne.


Download: The New Face of Revenge, The Death of Thieves, Nightmares of the Ocean, Night of the Long Knives

For the fans of: Fellsilent, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Periphery, Sikth

Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.07.2008


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