The Arusha Accord are back! The Reading technical metal pioneers have returned after a seven year absence to put out four brand new EPs, with the first – ‘Juracán’ – having arrived already, and it’s well worth the wait.
Set backs had halted progress on new material to come from the band, but now the new era of The Arusha Accord with Paul Green fronting the band as a sole singer.
We caught up with vocalist Paul Green and bassist Luke Williams for a track-by-track rundown of what to expect from their latest release.
01.) BLACKENED HEART
Luke: I started work on this soon after ‘The Echo Verses’ was released in 2009. It took about 3-4 years to complete in the arrangement, which is typical for a full Arusha track. My intention at the time was to write something that would mimic the experience of being clubbed across the back of the head by an angry gibbon. Upon reflection, I’m pretty happy with my efforts. I distinctly remember jumping up around to the intro riff with Clayton at my student house in Brighton, at a party in 2011.
Paul: This was the first track Alex and I started writing to for ‘Juracán’, we kicked it off with a decent writing session up at my home in the Cotswolds over a full weekend. Being the first real time we’d done this together in eight years, it was just great to re-establish our partnership. I remember the track coming together pretty easily other than the pitched screamed section which we really struggled with. Not because it was a difficult bit, but because every idea we created sounded too cheesy or poppy initially, especially coming out of the contrasted dark screams of section one. The main ‘chorus’ section where we repeat “Take my broken mind, take my blackened heart” was a nice combination of my melody and Alex’s lyrics. The rest of the track is a patchwork of different ideas and lyrics we just built up together over a month.
Luke: The initial intention here was to enter the same headspace I was in when the title-track of the ‘Nightmares Of The Ocean’ EP was written. It’s intentionally colourful (i.e. no a-tonal/diminished parts). The musical journey of its composition took many years to complete from start-to-finish. It’s the first track in which the guitars used their new low-A 7th string, which was exciting. It’s also the first track to be experimented on using synths & strings… oh, and it was the first track completed on GP5. Prior to this track, all the arrangements/parts had existed in our heads or on scrap pieces of paper… so, quite a milestone track really! There are some Rage Against The Machine influences at the end. We love a bit of Rage Against The Machine.
Paul: This track was tough. Alex and I had to approach this bit-by-bit as it’s so fast to change sections. I think it took 4-5 sessions to finish and required a lot of hard work and beer. We were stuck again for a good hook for the main riff where we eventually sang “These vultures”. I came up with that melody the day before our final writing session. We put ourselves under far too much pressure to get this one out the door and recorded it probably sooner than I’d have liked, due to a record offer and some shows which we eventually had to back out of. I’m still happy with the output, but we learnt a lot of lessons on this track.
03.) THE ROAD
Luke: This was always going to be a wildcard. It was an experiment from the start. The first half came into existence after a single day of studio jamming with Mark and Clayton… it’s possibly the most spontaneous piece of writing that we’ve ever done. The second half, the leitmotif, had been kicking around in our ‘Pot of Sections To Be Arranged Into Something’ for years. It’s a piece I’ve always found very powerful and moving, and I’m thrilled that we’ve managed expand the theme all across four EPs. The vocals over it I think capture the mood perfectly. I think, that once all EPs are released, this first part will be seen as a teaser for to what’s to come.
Paul: Initially I’d planned for this to be a single vocal track. The intention was for this to be an instrumental on the record, but I came up with the idea for the verses as soon as I heard it. I’m really glad that Alex and I did record on this one in the end because I think we added a lot to the track. The lyrics were written as a story in a similar ilk to ‘Last Rise Of The Fallen King’, and this one took maybe 3 sessions to finish. I can’t wait to get stuck in on the other 3 parts.
04.) BENEATH THE DULE TREE
Luke: Again, this track marked new territory for us. Specifically, it’s the only Arusha track EVER to have a flat crash across the whole piece. Inspired originally by Meshuggah, I was keen to delve into the world of polyrhythms, and this track is the result of my efforts. The intention was always to have more colour versus a-tonality. There’s a great drum groove on there, which Wheez really made his own. The synth parts came later. I think they add a whole new depth and dimension, which we were only beginning to explore on this first EP… safe to say they’re now a feature of the new Arusha sound.
Paul: This was a very very quick track to write vocally considering it’s an Arusha track. I had the melody idea down fairly quickly using our pals TesseracT as a guide, and lyrically it came almost instantly once I had a subject. This was inspired by mental health and suicide prevention. We lost another shining light in our industry leading up to the recording, and I felt I’d use this as a platform for a message.
05.) THE DARK PANE
Luke: Finished most recently, this track is the best indication of where we’re moving to musically. It’s a rite of passage. Started back in 2011, the music is intentionally colourful and epic, but maintaining power and aggression. This was a very moving piece to compose, especially the intro and endings. I had become more confident synth & string composition by this point, and I feel like that comes across. I’d actually been loving the trance/dance/Ibiza style synths at this point, you can hear them at the beginning. That initial riff, as is often the case, was written from my head into GP… Clayton and I had great fun trying to transpose it into something playable, but we got there. Such a cool groove! I remember when it was first written, I had it on loop for about 20 minutes. I couldn’t get enough!
Paul: I loved writing this. It was a journey. It was my first track as a solo vocalist in Arusha. I had to get my head in the right space for this one, so I took 3 or so months out after Alex left to get my head back into this project. After I went on tour with Devil Sold His Soul supporting SikTh in December 2017, I came back, met with Clayton, and just bounced some ideas off him for the ending. It went from there, and grew and grew into something that I’m truly proud of. The ending started as something quite uplifting and grand, but I wanted to strip it back to be fairly melancholy. The very end where it strips back to just vocals was a happy accident when I played it to the guys.
‘Juracán’ is available now, and you can order it online via the band’s webstore (here).
Features Editor for DEAD PRESS | Based in MK