(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Berlin-based band Age of Arcadia.)
All of my reviews this year are probably going to come some time after an album’s release. I’m really looking to emphasize what sticks with me long-term, that just won’t let me go no matter what. Today I want to talk about a band who’s gone very much under the radar, shamefully so, whose debut is quite possibly one of the best thrash albums ever conceived in the 2010‘s.
Age Of Arcadia are from Germany, but their music at least on this album has a very pronounced Hellenistic thematic approach, based on the song titles, lyrical content, and album art, while musically capturing the mythic titanic might of Greek mythology. Their debut Eleysis (Έλευσις) is one of the best albums I’ve encountered this year so far, although it’s technically a re-release according to the band despite the fact I can find no record of any previous releases.
So how do Age Of Arcadia achieve their goal? Imagine if The Haunted’s The Haunted Made Me Do It got atom-smashed together with Gojira’s To Mars From Sirius and Hacride’s Amoeba with Symphony X-esque progressive power metal ambitions mixed in. It’s a very odd combination of sounds, my kind of thing, supported by the open-throated titan screams of vocalist George Tsantilas, who will definitely bring to mind the vocal attacks of Gojira and Hacride upon hearing him.
The riff craft of Tsantilas and co-guitarist/vocalist Quentin Ducreux Lerebours is absolutely brilliant. The phrasing, the note choices, the way the band’s influences are worn on their sleeves but don’t consume your perception of the band… they’ve obviously taken what they love in metal and learned how to make it their own. While you’ll definitely hear traces of The Haunted or Gojira in this music, you’d never mistake them for any of their influencers. Just on the guitar front alone these guys sound like Age Of Arcadia. Veit Schmoll’s drum performance on this album is also mightily impressive; a master of tasteful nuance meets persistent drive as he forges on like a mechanism of earth and ancient magics.
This is also a rare album in that every song is uncompromising while being totally unique from the next. From the tech-thrash-meets-power-metal haymaker that is the album’s opener “We The Helleness” to the Gorgon trance groove of “The Cave Myth” to the ten-minute melodic epic “Eleysis”, the music is not only passionate and brutal, but also diverse in its experience.
I think Eleysis is essential for any metallic-blooded fiend, and by my lights flawless from front to back. Here’s to hoping they keep this up, and only ratchet up the next album.