The Arusha Accord – ‘Juracán’ (EP Review)
The Arusha Accord named themselves after a set of failed peace agreements, and their own history has been defined by dramatic struggles and attempts at conflict resolution. After an extended absence and 2017 comeback, both vocalist Alex Green and guitarist Tom Hollings departed into the sunset while the remaining members fought to keep it together during a particularly dark night of the soul. With The Arusha Accord’s debut album The Echo Verses now nine years old, fans have been desperate for new music and extended releases.
The first two tracks on Juracán – Blackened Heart and Vultures – have already seen the light of day, and still feature Alex Green’s vocals on this EP. Original influences The Dillinger Escape Plan, SikTh, Protest The Hero, and Converge all show through, although you can also add Dream Theater and Between The Buried And Me this time out, along with some fucking meaty djent tones showcased during Vultures. It’s a tantalising glimpse of what could have still been, had things not gone the way they did.
This is where Juracán gets really interesting. From its third track onwards, The Arusha Accord waste no time in moving on both creatively, and in song. The Road may primarily be a chugging Tool pastiche, but lyrically it seems to reference its creators’ recent issues as Paul Green intones “I’ve been down this road, once before,” in the manner of Maynard James Keenan. It definitely breaks from The Arusha Accord’s form to date, and most importantly acts as a bridge between the old and the truly new.
Juracán’s final two fifths are dedicated to the almost total dissection and reconfiguration of the Arusha Accord sound. You’ll be able to detect plenty of familiar elements – not least bassist Luke Williams’ ever-welcome slap-bass barrages – but The Arusha Accord occasionally veer into the space normally occupied by Tesseract, Karnivool, and those bands’ bandwagon-jumpers and copycats. This being The Arusha Accord, of course, these guys succeed in assimilating rather than copying, pasting, and cloning. My favourite parts of Beneath The Dule Tree sound like Dream Theater jamming with a certain set of British djent masters, while The Dark Pane makes up for lost time by squeezing a ton of proggy conversation pieces into a fully filled seven minutes.
The overall sense you’ll get from Juracán – and especially The Dark Pane – will likely be something akin to watching four people shove a fire hose into a bucket and turn the water on, only for the bucket to somehow accommodate the entire high-pressure stream with little to no overspill. You’d expect the situation to get completely out of control – but instead, potential disaster is averted. You realise that these people are effectively just like Aquaman, capable of controlling a notoriously tempestuous element with precision and virtuosity…
That visual’s getting a little stretched – but in any case, suffice it to say that even though the start of their comeback may have been some time ago now, it feels as if The Arusha Accord have properly arrived at last. Shit may have hit the fan, leaving some of tech-metal’s finest instrumentalists in need of a serious scrub, but they’ve broken out the hazmat suits and industrial showers while ensuring their creative output remains uncontaminated. The consequences of their decisions to date are literally audible throughout Juracán, and it’s important to remember that these five tracks are effectively appetisers.
The Arusha Accord still have three more EPs and 15 songs left before their new opus is complete. How many bands can you say that about right now? Bring it on.
LTK RATING: 10/10 (Essential Listening!)
Pre-order Juracán (out September 28) on The Arusha Accord’s official website.
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