Arcaeon are newcomers to the UK music scene, forming early in 2017 but already have a niche carved out for themselves aping prog/tech metal and other metal core acts from SikTh to Architects and Northlane and blending them together.
Balance sees them taking their tentative first steps as a band, an EP clocking in around twenty-five minutes containing five songs. The band meld polyrhythms alongside softer (I hesitate to say quiet) passages as well as clean and screamed vocals. This lends itself to songs feeling more lethargic than they are as complex guitar lines sometimes underpin far less energetic, spaced out vocal lines such as the clean vocal lines in ‘Mind’s Eye’ that does nothing for the EP’s pacing.
Despite this the instrumentation is precise and inventive even if it does often veer into technicality for technicality’s sake. The instrumental intro to opener ‘Endeavour’ and its seamless blending into the intro riff sets a peaceful tone for the album before being disrupted - certainly a balance between the two and perhaps this is the intention. Vocally there’s some ear-catching passages too; the opening to ‘Dysaxis’ (which also features the sound of a dial-up modem for some reason) has a half-shouted, half-screamed delivery that hits hard. Alongside this, closer ‘Legacies’ has some fantastic syncopation in the vocal patterns that accentuates the underlying riffing brilliantly and demands some serious neck movement.
Unfortunately, the EP as a whole is let down by a horrifyingly brick-walled mastering job that unless on low volumes does lend itself to earache and utterly ruins passages that should be quieter since dynamically there’s no difference between them and the band hurtling full throttle. Overall there’s some promise here and some fantastic ideas but it’s let down by a woefully subpar production that robs Balance of much of the impact its frequent gearshifts should have. A better mastering job would have let the music breathe and flow far better but drags down the overall result.