ARCANE: Revenants (2014)
Updated: May 3, 2020
“Revenants is a solid opus of e-rock where some superb fragrances of TD's analog era fill the air in a genre that made the trio famous for; movie music”
1 Revenants 5:12
2 Contagion 5:25
3 Fire and Rain 5:35
4 From here to Oblivion 6:12
5 The Returned 6:17
6 Sunrise on a Desolate Freeway 5:58
7 Unnatural Selection 5:38
8 Deadly Skyline 6:26
(DDL 46:47) (V.F.)
(E-rock for picture-minded)
Ouf ...! We are not yet seated as the sequences plow at a brisk pace. The keys cut out the moods with sharp blows. They sculpt a furious winding race which clings to the percussive pulsations of a bass drum. The riffs which fall and scatter mocking harmonies, as well as these synth layers which come from metallurgical sources, don't lie; we are on familiar ground. We are in the lair of Arcane. In the lair of this band, whose legend is intricately linked to that of Tangerine Dream. Besides, who is who? The question still stands. Because throughout REVENANTS we have this tasty feeling that the two myths are one. The title-track assails our ears with a frenzied rhythm, braided in an analog perfume which runs breathless through sonic traps that flock from both sides of our ears. If the sequences and percussions forge a furious electronic rock, the guitar spits its gall while screaming like a hungry beast. And because the rhythm empties its reservoir of furious sequenced keys, brief moments of calm restore the decor with tasty misty layers and keyboard riffs that come out of the analog times.
Revenant sets the tone for an album that literally immerses us in those years when Tangerine Dream amazed the seventh art with hard-hitting soundtracks. From Flashpoint to Thief, via Wavelenght and even Near Dark for the dread side (Contagion and Unnatural Selection), without forgetting Green Desert for the vintage years perfumes, this latest Arcane album follows the moments of fury in Holocaust 3000 and offers 8 titles where the rhythms have the upper hand over the ambiences and where the melodies, the harmonies tame an apocalyptic vision which fits with wonder to a fairly significant artwork of its content. If Revenant breaks down the shack, Contagion takes us to a more sinister level, just like Unnatural Selection which presents an even more random structure. A line of sequences stretches its balls which jump in haste in the shadows of others, casting a heavy stroboscopic thread which comes and goes through intriguing dismal layers. The atmosphere is like in a video game where the hero must search in tunnels full of traps. The percussions are sober and feed a rhythmic heaviness. And if the rhythm is nearly ambient, it remains adorned with threats and elements of fear where riffs, metallic rattling and howling voices intensify a sepulchral climate. The sequences end up keeping a pulsating fixation, forging a catchier linear rhythm from which emerges other sequences whose harmonic approach, as well as the addition of more lively percussions, accentuate the pace of Contagion which nevertheless retains its threatening envelope. We can even say that it overflows on the sinister Fire and Rain and its stream of sequences which sparkle under thunders and in heavy muffled pulsations. The rhythm comes alive in a form of slow gallop where crystalline keys fly in misty layers.
We swim full ears in atmospheres, rhythms and melodies stamped by the influences of Tangerine Dream and it's not the very good From here to Oblivion that will refute this fact. It's a ballad with nervous sequences à la Flashpoint, just like Sunrise on a Desolate Freeway, where they spin rapidly but lose their brightness in a heavy and slow tempo, always imbued with a vision of threats. I like The Returned and its heavy rhythm, pounded by muffled pulsations and torn by riffs from a guitar which is also capable of good solos in Sunrise on a Desolate Freeway, and whose abrupt chords contrast with these silvery sequences which are agitating a murky rhythm. A rhythm which gradually accepts the velocity of the sequencing momentums in order to become as harmonious as catchy. There are a lot of Near Dark here. Deadly Skyline concludes with a slightly less somber approach. The rhythm is slow and drawn up on sequences whose crystalline tones shine in the pulses of sober percussions. These sequences stand out to form a line of orchestral jerks, always adding that cinematic weight that characterizes REVENANTS. Much like Edgar, Paul tortures his six-strings and places elusive solos that blend into an artificial voice. And, following the precepts of the first 7 titles, the rhythm exorcises its passivity. Dusting out its mortuary atmospheres, it receives more lively percussion blows and flees with the strange harmonies of this female voice which steals us a few seconds of sweet solos whose nuances are difficult to distinguish between a synth and a guitar.
And always, we have this delicious impression of walking on the sonic paths of Tangerine Dream. And this, Arcane is not offended! After all, don't they come from this superb era when EM could be as secret and intriguing as deliciously captivating and catchy?
Sylvain Lupari (December 20th,2014) *****
Available at Arcane Bandcamp