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Behold the Arctopus: Skullgrid

Absolute insanity. That's about the best way to describe the latest release from Behold the Arctopus. Skullgrid is one molten slab of intense, complex, technical fusion-metal. Did I say technical? Did I say complex? Did I say METAL? Well, it's all that and more, as this daring three-piece band, consisting of Mike Lerner on guitar, Colin Marston on Warr guitar, and drummer Charlie Zeleny, take instrumental metal music to new heights here. Zeleny is an absolute monster on the drums, and holds the distinction of playing on two of this years sickest instrumental metal releases, this one and Blotted Science's The Machinations of Dementia. Along with the virtuoso abilities of Lerner and Marston, these three create all sorts of mayhem here, drawing upon their obvious fusion, prog, death metal, black metal, and thrash influences to offer up a herky jerky ride that never lets up or fail to bore the listener. Check out the amazing "Transient Exuberance", with its Gentle Giant styled use of counterpoint arrangements mixed with crushing, technical death metal fury, the intricate unison lines from all three players on the twisted title track, the metallic Mahavishnu Orchestra influenced mystique of "Canada", or the dark & demented King Crimson-ish improvisational prog of "You Are Number Six", all of which contain jaw dropping technical ability and just enough melody to bring it all together. There are times when Lerner & Marston furiously rip some scary tremelo picked passages, and with Zeleny blasting away alongside them, it almost sounds like instrumental Norwegian black metal. Marston's slippery & melodic lines permeate the catchy "Some Mist", one of the CD's more fusiony pieces, and a tune that also features some gymnastic guitar solos from Lerner and Zeleny's most jazz inspired drum passages on the album.

This is impressive stuff, and just scary sick as far as how complex it all is. Behold the Arctopus has just raised the bar for instrumental progressive metal.

Track Listing
1. Skullgrid
2. Canada
3. Of Cursed Womb
4. You Are Number Six
5. Some Mist
6. Scepters
7. Transient Exuberance

Added: February 18th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4543
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Behold the Arctopus: Skullgrid
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-02-18 09:51:23
My Score:

Most technical metal can leave listeners cold and numb, sonically bludgeoned and with at least temporary mental damage. The thing about Brooklyn's Behold...The Arctopus is that this mind-stretching trio injects a human element into its orgasmically complex instrumental music. Credit, in part, a tendency to reference classical composers like Bartok and Varese while channeling Ulver, Death, King Crimson and Watchtower. As a musician, you simply cannot cite influences like that and then fail to deliver anything short of aggressively spectacular. This is immensely listenable stuff -- even though drummer Charlie Zeleny and guitarists Mike Lerner and Charlie Marston have crammed more than an hour's worth of ideas into a mere 33 and a half minutes. Dark, monstrous and melodic, this is the kind of tech metal that should be used to introduce the genre to new listeners. Of course, after spending time with Skullgrid, said listeners may be a little disappointed that not all tech metal sound this real.

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