Despite their legion of fans citing their headline set at Tech Fest 2017 being a triumphant return for the band, there’s been trouble afoot within The Arusha Accord camp recently. Shortly after their long-awaited return to the stage, the group was met with uncertainly following the departure of Alex Green (vocals) and Tom Hollings (guitar). Whilst such events would spell the demise for many acts, it’s clear that The Arusha Accord can withstand the pressures that would level most of their contemporary counterparts. Such a fact is bolstered with Juracan, their first offering in more than seven years. Fueled by the turbulence and disorder that has enveloped the band in recent times, the EP may be their most volatile, explosive and experimental offering to date.
The first in line of a trio of EP’s recorded with Adam Getgood (Periphery) at the helm, Juracan see’s the now quartet slide right back into their roles as providers of controlled chaos with elegance and ease. Opening with somber keys drenched with a torrential downpour of reverb, the record explodes with the madcap electronic frenzy of ‘Blackened Heart’, with Paul Green supplying his signature manic vocal duties. The song blossoms into a tower of elated technical motifs, with curious eccentrics paving the way for a glorious metalcore tinged cleans and sprawling aggressive soundscapes.
‘Vultures’ expands on such sensibilities, with the group swinging between full throttle technical bombardments that speed past composed cleans and progressive metal sensibilities. Whilst the EP is undoubtedly set to appease the technical and the djent fans who have remained loyal to the scene for years, the second half of this EP is where the song writing skills of this act really shine. There’s a striking level of progressive mentality on both ‘Beneath The Dull Tree’ and the 7 minute saga that is ‘The Dark Pane’, with the group channelling prog metal motifs and conversation pieces with skill and virtuosity.
Whilst acts like Sikth and The Dillinger Escape Plan have long been companions of this bands sound, such tracks carry the tonal movements that can be compared to the likes of Dream Theater and Between The Buried And Me. There’s less loose mental riffwork and more composed pieces of contemplation. Of course, their signature attitude and masterful handling of tightly controlled aggression is still clearly evident, but presented in a fashion that feels fresh, reinvigorating and highly exciting.
Without a shadow of a doubt, such passion is evident and is abound to put smiles on the faces of established fans and newcomers alike. Despite technical metal being a hotbed of gimmicks and bandwagon jumpers, The Ashura Accord sound completely fresh and highly relevant, a fact most enjoyable considering the length of their career. With the group exploring new avenues, this release feels less like an average comeback and more like a prosperous second phase of the act, one that shall elevate the group to higher ranks.