CD Review: Arcadea – “Arcadea”

Arcadea is proof that Mastodon’s Brann Dailor is a huge nerd. Fresh on the heels of Mastodon’s seventh studio album, Dailor’s side project debut, the eponymous album Arcadea, reveals an unyielding love of proggy, synth-laden rock operas and a fascination with science on both an astronomical and microscopic scale. HUGE. NERD. But this nerdy love of detail and technical attention makes for a pretty trippy tour of the universe.

It’s clear that Dailor’s proclivities make him at least one of the leading forces driving Mastodon away from metal and toward psychedelic hard rock. Arcadea is the stuff of black light posters and planetariums and half-smoked joints. Teamed with Raheem Amlani (of the fantastic black metal outfit, Withered) and Core Atoms (Zaruda), Dailor’s songs are written from the point of view of electromagnetic waves, black holes, and constellations. Nearly every song obsesses with juxtaposing microcosms and macrocosms and casting the clockwork tedium of celestial activity into epic stories. A supernova becomes a march to war across the galaxy for an “army of electrons.” Lyrics like “I’ll split the oceans, I’ll make the mountains melt, Molecular motion rising, Shockwave of thunder felt,” relates the creation of a star as the birth of a primal cosmic god.

Both in form and substance, Arcadea is a perfect throw back to 70s prog rock, but retains a definite Mastodon-esque sound. Despite the synth-heavy melodies and Neil deGrasse Tyson level lyrics, the band maintains a rock savvy aesthetic that never lets the concept overpower the song writing. The resulting album has a creepy sci-fi groove that’s catchy and compelling. It’ll make you want to dust off your lava lamp. Arcadea is a promising project and hopefully won’t be a one-off band that disappears into the cold reaches of space. Whether you’re a Mastodon fan or maybe just a huge nerd, Arcadea offers a lot to love.

For more information on Arcadea, visit their Facebook page and order the album at the Relapse Records website. Want to give it a listen first? Relapse Records is offering a stream of the album, which you can find below.