Coming in the wake of both SikTh and The Dillinger Escape Plan – as well as openly being influenced by both of them – it was always going to be hard for The Arusha Accord to make their mark, particularly in the late 2000s when both of those aforementioned bands had really begun to hit their stride. Their debut The Echo Verses continues to go under-appreciated to this day, and thus a hiatus never really came as a shock. But after seven years away and a cut-back lineup (with former vocalist Alex Green going on to front Attention Thieves), it’s a good sight to see The Arusha Accord back, especially with tech-metal flourishing to the greatest extent it has for a while, and with a four EP release schedule that shows their ambition working at full force.
And thankfully, Juracan runs as though no time has passed at all, keeping the cutting-edge tech-metal beef that made their previous material so good and pairing it with some extra melody and even alt-rock passages for a truly coloassal listen. A track like Beneath The Duke Tree feels like a much more robust take on 2010s Britrock with its more technically-advanced instrumentation, while closer The Dark Pane really pulls out all the stops for an epic finale, weaving through string-flecked alt-rock and vicious metalcore over its seven minutes for a tremendously potent climax moment. There isn’t the faintest hint of a band phoning in their revival here; The Arusha Accord really have retooled themselves in almost the best way possible.
Unfortunately Juracan doesn’t reach the full extent of that until near its end though, where there’s a bit more liberation in their genre-fusing ideals. When they stick purely to tech-metal, it’s not precisely bad but suffers from more of a case of listener desensitisation, where it’s become so common that they can feel as though they’re retreading ground. It shouldn’t be the case given how a track like Blackened Heart is so visceral in its bludgeoning angularity, but it’s nothing that SikTh and even The Arusha Accord haven’t done themselves, and that can subtract from the punch just a bit.
Still, for a return after such a long time, there’s not much else to really complain about. They’ve at least done the smart thing of keeping this one fairly brief to test the waters, but Juracan is still packed to gills with interesting ideas and rock-solid musicianship right across the board. It takes a while before the really essential stuff kicks in, but even then, what precedes is good enough for it to be worth the wait. That next installment can’t come soon enough.
For fans of: SikTh, Bury Tomorrow, The Dillinger Escape Plan
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Juracan’ by The Arusha Accord is released on 28th September.