Arcane Roots @ Key Club, 17/10

Arcane Roots are, perhaps, a band who have something for everyone. The crowd that descend upon the Key Club tonight appear to represent this perfectly; heavy enough to draw in metalheads, complex enough to draw in hipsters, and yet still accessible enough to draw in mostly anyone else. This Autumn sees the band touring in support of their recently released album – Melancholia Hymns – which sees the band evolve into new territory whilst still maintaining their core quirks.

Support for the night comes in the form of local lads False Flags, and Watford collective Gold Key. False flags get the night off to a noisy start, at times sounding a little like Feed the Rhino with a heavier groove and more angular changes in time signature. The vocals are impassioned, the instrumentals are heavy and tight, coming together in a mixture that certainly gets the blood flowing. Gold Key give the growing crowd a slight change of pace, bring a slightly more psychedelic atmosphere with their shimmery guitars. Comprising of members of Gallows, Blackhole and SikTh, at times they sound more like the lovechild of Queens of the Stone Age and Radiohead (with a dash of early Kings of Leon thrown in for good measure) than any of their parent projects. This is no bad thing though, as they bring a definite level of swagger to the night.

Arcane Roots start their set as silhouettes in a cloud of smoke, backlit by strobing lights. This seems to set the scene for the ethereal opener – ‘Before Me’ – which is the first track on their new album. The new album seems to feature more electronic and synth-based elements, giving Melancholia Hymns a sound that is perhaps fuller and more mature than its predecessors.

The band sound just as tight on their older material though, with ‘Slow Dance’ (which isn’t really a song to slow dance to) giving fans an opportunity to bang their heads, and ‘Rouen’ bringing a certain sultry swing to proceedings. Over the course of their set, Arcane Roots demonstrate their mastery of constructing an atmosphere, whether it be one of calm and tranquillity or of chaos and rage, with each song seeming to climax in exactly the most appropriate manner. This is perhaps best demonstrated by set-closer, ‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’, which has a cathartic singalong quality to it.

As the song draws to a close, there is a certain sense of finality to it, a cacophonous end coming to the little world that they have created for their fans at Key Club tonight.

Keiran Suchak

[Image: Clean Slate Music]