After two years of pretty much silence since the release of previous release, Trilogy, Irish musician John Bassett has returned with a new slice of Arcade Messiah temptation. Hell By Default is that offering, the declaration of a new captivating breath to his sound and songwriting and an ear grabbing EP making a rather potent teaser to a new album in the works.
Already renowned before Arcade Messiah as the frontman/songwriter of KingBathmat, Bassett himself says that ‘After a couple of very difficult years, I’ve finally managed to get back to making music, the new Arcade Messiah sound is more song focused with vocals…” That was the first surprise as previously the Sligo based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer’s project has been an instrumental adventure and news which immediately intensified the intrigue as fruitful experiences with KingBathmat and SΔCRED ΔPE as well as an acoustic album under his own name proved vocals was another potent string to Bassett’s creative bow.
Equally there is a new hue to the Arcade Messiah sound, a lighter multi-flavoured flume of melodic imagination and contagious hookery which comes with something of a KingBathmat lining but one which colludes with and enhances rather than defuses the established progressive shadow haunted explorations of Bassett’s project. Its first three albums and their union as Trilogy in 2017 provided a cathartic venture for the imagination within a kaleidoscope of suggestive sounds for ears. Hell By Default is no different yet with its broader palette of enterprise is a bold new trail of exploration for Arcade Messiah.
The EP opens with its title track, a song taken from that new and fourth album planned for release later in the year. Hell By Default rises on a siren sonic call, a lure within which a teasing melodic hook soon beckons and the tones of Bassett coax. With every note and second, the song gently but firmly accelerates its urgency and temptation, soon hitting a keen stroll soaked in drama and fiery intensity. Rock and metal essences blend in the post rock nurtured flames which boldly consume and ignite upon the senses, dark almost rapacious tints soaking the creative trespass swiftly igniting imagination and appetite. It all unites for a thickly magnetic proposition and a greedy devouring of the return of Arcade Messiah.
The following Death X-Ray strolls in with a calmer and lighter character and touch, one fuelled by an instinctive tempting and organic catchiness which instantly gripped attention. As melodic infectiousness, vocal intimacy, and rhythmic persuasion continue to flourish, the track blossomed with greater radiance. Even so a shadowy courting to the melodic radiance and emotive heart on offer brings an edge and drama which only highlights the nagging prowess of hooks and grooved melodies, the result another track which only compelled pleasure and attention.
Hell By Default concludes with its instrumental version, a piece of creative inference which led thoughts to a different adventure to that highlighted by the words of Bassett in the opener and that is another attribute proven to its creator’s craft, songs can have a dual aspect and has the imagination constantly conjuring.
It has been a perpetual pleasure for us to engage in any Arcade Messiah encounter so far and the new EP only repeats that experience though through it there is a feeling that that new album could be the biggest thrill of all.
Hell By Default is available now @ https://arcademessiah.bandcamp.com/album/hell-by-default as a name your price download.
Pete RingMaster 09/08/2019
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