Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns album review

Proggy drama from the ambitious Brit trio

Cover art for Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns album

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It’s all about the atmosphere for Kingston Upon Thames threepiece Arcane Roots, whose second album has a sense of scope and grandiosity that places them somewhere between the prog theatricality of Muse and the lush sonic tapestries of Sigur Rós, except they’re subtler, fresher and ultimately much less ludicrous than either of those bands.

It’s been a four-year wait for the follow-up to Blood & Chemistry, and they’ve clearly used that time to learn all there is to know about electronic instrumentation, with skittish beats and swells of synths providing a dramatic foil to frontman Andrew Groves’ high, keening vocals and the meaty, no-nonsense rock riffs at the heart of all the bluster.

One moment they’re raging on a string-laden Apt, the next they’re building a more subtle kind of tension on the creepingly sinister Fireflies. In keeping with its long gestation period, this is music built to last.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.