Arcade Messiah - III album review

KingBathMat man continues his trek into the dark side on solid third album

Cover art for Arcade Messiah's III

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What is it with the month of November and Arcade Messiah’s John Bassett? The KingBathMat linchpin has now released three Messiah records in as many years, each in November; it must be the excitement of Christmas looming, or something.

The Hastings man, now a resident of Ireland, visits familiar sonic realms in III, an apocalyptic cocktail of instrumental metal, prog adventurism and crepuscular aura. Although this time, there’s a rare smattering of vocals lobbed in for fun, too. Only have time for one song? Try the 10-minute long Deliverance, which enjoys cataclysmic riffs juxtaposed with dreamy, lead guitar musings before guttural Tool-esque jolts push things sideways. As with the previous two records, don’t expect KingBathMat’s prog rock licks and psychedelic dalliances to bubble to the surface. Composed and recorded purely by the man himself, this is defiantly doomy, with guitar growls as chunky as a cantankerous North Sea wave. It’s the spacey, post-rock flourishes and the jagged time signatures where proggers will get their kicks. The whole album swells and builds, but with closer Sanctuary a little lethargic, III never reaches that crescendo pay-off. But who cares when the music’s this absorbing?

A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.