Arcane - Chronicles Of The Waking Dream (Riot)

Being somewhat of a musical puzzle for the listener, Arcane's Chronicles Of The Waking Dream will make you think and try to make your own conclusion to the concept within.

When a band releases a concept album, it can be taken in two ways - it can become a well lauded masterpiece such as Pink Floyd's The Wall and Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime or it could be percieved as over the top and pointless, being like such examples as Kiss's The Elder and Queenryche's Operation: Mindcrime 2. Brisbane's Arcane has thankfully taken the former route in their latest release, Chronicles Of The Waking Dream.

Chronicles Of The Waking Dream's concept is a complex one to define; it brings together elements of thought, significance, mental disorder and much more. Without specifically defining the specific concept that revolves around occurrences happening on the date of May 26th, Arcane state that the listener should derive his or her own meanings from the album.

The material changes pace at times, shifting gears from mellow passages by segueing to insanely heavy periods. Tracks such as the epic opener The Seer and the progressive showcase Asylum: Acolyte Zero are perfect examples of the variation and transitions of the material within. There are also segue tracks in between the longer songs on the album to further the concept and keep the listener intrigued.

One of the interesting, consistent themes on Chronicles Of The Waking Dream that I personally interpreted are the musical paces, the quieter/slower periods feel as they could represent a person's state of calm and lucidity, where the heavier passages could represent more the problematic/troubled situations in life, which many deal with day-to-day.

From a performance perspective, Arcane have their musical chops well defined. Guitarist Michael Gagen is capable of laying down some lush mellow passages, and of moving into heavy riffage at the drop of a hat with no trouble at all. His lead guitar work is very reminiscent of Dream Theater's John Petrucci, and an excellent example of this is the blistering solo in the middle of Secret. Keyboardist Matt Martin puts down some beautiful piano passages alongside textured keyboard work and samples; the rhythm section of bassist Mick Millard and drummer Stephen Walsh are capable of holding everything together and standing in the spotlight without overpowering everything else that is going on around them. Vocalist Jim Grey has a powerful pair of lungs, displaying a range and a vocal style similar to a combination of The Butterfly Effect's Clint Boge crossed with Arcturus' Simon Hestnæs and Saviour Machine's Eric Clayton.

The artwork and packaging is quite a visual piece that accompanies the music; you could spend quite an elongated period of time looking at the artwork while listening to the music.

Being a progressive album, there is quite an emphasis on musicianship and can tend to go off on a tangent at times, such as in The Malice and the repetitive Fading, which may turn the casual listener off. However, with an experienced ear tuned towards progressive music, the listener will definately enjoy the aural experience of Chronicles Of The Waking Dream and would tend to return to figure out its own interpretation of the concept.

With the release of Chronicles Of The Waking Dream, Arcane are on the right path to becoming one of Australia's finest progressive musical acts and could possibly go further abroad if they continue at the standard they are at with Chronicles Of The Waking Dream.

Arcane's Chronicles Of The Waking Dream is out now through Riot! Entertainment. Get your hands on this album here.