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Arche : Undercurrents (EP)

Arche's debut shows that the Finnish trio know exactly how to invoke perfect misery.

Hailing from Tampere in Finland, you would expect nothing less than coldness and darkness. So dust the cobwebs away, and prepare yourself for a slab of Doom that will make you wish you were already in your coffin, waiting for the lid to be nailed shut. Atmospherically crushing, like falling down a blackened pit with no chance of escape, except to listen to the hypnotic melodies of deathly passages and hymns of suffocating madness. Two songs of over 14 minutes each strip you of all your senses and leave you thinking, pondering where the hell did that just come from? Featuring a member from Profetus, these guys know exactly what they are doing.

Guitar leads play a huge part in these songs and the balance is perfect. The vocals are huge and monstrous, maybe they could be a touch higher in the mix, but that is me just being really picky. To my ears, I struggled to hear or grasp them, but maybe this was intended within the mix and it did not put me off at all. Production-wise the music is balanced in all the right areas and brings out all the emotions expected from this type of genre. This is helped by the fact the bass and guitar player Panu Raatikainen mixed it. There is a story to tell and this band tells it well. If you like depressive doom with no hope and utter misery, then these two tracks will give you no comfort. They will have you reaching for the nearest bottle or razor blade.

'Plains of Lethe' introduces acoustic passages that are beautifully written. Each note rings sombrely upon your ears and leaves its mark. Almost Ahab-like, dreaming your way through the seas, it is a welcome change of pace which I really like. Nothing is overcomplicated or drawn out. The lyrics are well thought out and once you have them at hand add even more to the music.

" "The water-covered passage"
" A touchstone to infinity"
" A faint sensation, as if a distant memory"
" Uncreated in the depths of silence" "

The introduction of organ adds a really nice feeling, building a nice warmth to the mix as if you were exhaling your last breath. A fitting ending to a work of art. Fans of Esoteric, Bell Witch and Ennui would appreciate the structures and melodies on show. With so many bands about these days, it's great that Arche have enough of their own style going to keep you interested at all times, waiting for the next chapter of musical sadness to awaken your inner thoughts.

I very much look forward to seeing what this band will produce over the next year or so.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Plains of Lethe
2. Funereal Folds

Duration : Approx. 31 minutes

Visit the Arche bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-01-08 by Riccardo Veronese
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