As far as comparisons to other bands go, Biffy Clyro is hardly a bad one to carry the weight of, and it’s one Arcane Roots have been on the receiving end of virtually since their inception. Whether it’s the fact that they both have a remarkable knack for combining dexterous prog with stadium-baiting hooks, or that frontman Andy Groves bears somewhat of a resemblance to a certain Mr. Simon Neil, the similarities are definitely there. To keep the comparison going then, Heaven & Earth is Arcane Roots’ Puzzle, the release that should see them finally break into the mainstream consciousness.
Like Puzzle, the five songs on this EP see the band reign themselves in a touch, condensing their vast pool of influences into more manageable packages. There’s still plenty of room for them to sprawl – no song on here drops below the five minute mark – but one of the few complaints about their debut Blood & Chemistry was that it could feel a bit open ended at times, and that’s been completely rectified here. It feels like a natural next step – it never feels forced and everything their debut had is still there, just woven together a lot tighter and more cohesively. Slow Dance builds from soft beginnings into a truly massive crescendo, while When Did The Taste Leave Your Mouth is possibly the most straightforward song Arcane Roots have ever written, but also one of the best.
They’ve lost none of their bite either. When they want to, they’ve still got the monstrous riffs and power to level a fair majority of other bands, as opener If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves shows, dishing out groove-laden guitars and Groves’ caustic screams (once again proving that he’s one of the most underrated vocalists in the business) with the sort of reckless abandon of a band who know full well that they’re onto a good thing. And on Heaven & Earth, that’s most definitely the case. It’s everything that was ever great about Arcane Roots honed and solidified in a phenomenal fashion. If they can replicate this on a full-length album, there’s genuinely no telling how far they’ll be able to go.
For fans of: Biffy Clyro, Oceansize, Black Peaks
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Heaven & Earth’ by Arcane Roots is released on 16th October on Sony Music.