Wednesday, 15 April 2015

NOISE-A-TRON - Vast Arcane (Album Review)

Vast Arcane cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: April 28th 2015
Label: Bleeding Light Records

Vast Arcane - Track Listing

2.Six 03:32
3.Six Point Five


Lea, Jason


Any band with a name that sounds like the ultimate weapon of a 60’S Dr Who villain is sure to grab my attention. Before listening to Seattle duo Noise-A-Tron I imagined they might be some kind of kitschy retro psyche rock band or occupy the opposite end of the spectrum and deliver a harsh atonal sensory assault. The reality of the band’s music on “Vast Arcane” however is a more original and captivating proposition.

Using a minimal set-up of drums and alternating/interweaving bass and keyboards, Noise-A –Tron manage to establish huge swirling vortices of sound. “Intro” sets out the bands stall well, building up layers of ominous droning while a steady yet intricate rhythm develops underneath. The track builds to a satisfyingly bleary finale as a fuzzy two chord bass dirge swells into prominence as the drums fall away to spacious cymbal crashes. This creation of vast cosmic soundscapes is something Noise-A-Tron have honed to a fine art on this release, echoing the endless intergalactic cold evoked by Tangerine Dream on their 70’s gem “Zeit”. “Vast Arcane” even shares similar eclipse imagery on the cover recalling the boundless galaxies of noise within, particularly the yawning black hole which opens up in the middle of the 14 minute epic “Eight”.

Noise-A-Tron aren’t just about the drone though; there’s a healthy amount of riffage to enjoy here as well. “Six” and “Seven” bring lumbering riffs into play alongside more menacing off-kilter lines reminiscent of UK bass supremacists Palehorse. These elements weave seamlessly in and out of towering synth constructions to create a pretty unique listening experience.

Six Point Five” offers a sub-two minute frantic change of pace in the middle of this release. Sounding not unlike Torche stripped to their rhythm section and bolstered with buzzing, soaring synths it’s a stark contrast to the other four tracks here but works well.

Vast Arcane” is an intriguing half an hour which has left me hungry for more Noise-A-Tron. Combining seemingly disparate elements of doom, noise rock and more soothing sounds the band manage to create a cohesive whole which is going to appeal to fans of crushing heaviness as well as lovers of hypnotic drone.

Words by Charlie Butler

Thanks to Cat Jones at Southern Cross PR for the promo. Vast Arcane will be available to buy on DD from BandCamp and on Vinyl through Bleeding Light Records.

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