Returning in style with their first material since 2009, British technical metal pioneers The Arusha Accord are back with the first of four planned EPs after a lengthy hiatus.
‘Juracán’‘s namesake, a Caribbean deity of disorder, couldn’t be more fitting as the ebb and flow between chaos and order is one of the only constants in this odyssey of a record that is equally impressive in terms of it scope and ambition.
Opener ‘Blackened Heart’ definitely errs more on the side of chaos, kicking off with a downright disorienting salvo of discordant lead guitar work and frantic vocals reminiscent of Every Time I Die‘s own Keith Buckley. It gives way to a cleaner passage still underpinned by eerie instrumentation in its second half before smoothly pulling both of its constituent parts together for a cacophonous crescendo.
‘Vultures’ continues in this vein by alternating between pounding verses anchored by the unfaltering rhythm section and a huge, layered vocal chorus, but here the blistering lead work is shreddier and, with its vibrant tone, is more reminiscent of classic 80s arena metal.
After proving unequivocally that they can still write songs that are heavy, complex, and urgent, it’s here that the band let us take a breath with a double dose of somewhat more expansive tracks in the form of ‘The Road’ and ‘Beneath The Dule Tree’. The former, which sees Paul Green‘s vocals marching in lockstep with the chunky, percussive slap bass of Luke Williams, builds tremendously from a sparse, ethereal soundscape to an emphatic conclusion and back down again.
With two-part concluding track ‘The Dark Pane’, the EP takes a turn for the grandiose. A cinematic interlude soon launches into a stomping groove that’s as surprising as it is satisfying and the remaining six minutes positively fly by as we’re whisked up in a storm of virtuoso guitar work and anthemic vocal hooks.
Whilst each individual track can stand on its own two feet, ‘Juracán’ excels as a body of work that takes the listener on a journey. Its three act structure of crushingly heavy and immediate ragers, a more sedate and far-reaching midsection, and a proggy, ambitious closer is astoundingly effective.
Over the course of only six tracks, The Arusha Accord display both their excellent musicianship and their versatility, delivering a stunningly diverse and accomplished set of tracks. With more releases of this sort on the horizon, ‘Juracán’ is a mouth-watering taste of what is to come for this newly revitalised and reanimated band.