BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS
Progressive Metal / Avant-garde Metal • United States

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Hailing from New York City, Behold... The Arctopus are a 3-piece neo-avant prog metal band that pushes the absolute extremes of technical and rhythmic complexity. The band currently consists of Mike Lerner and Colin Marston, after the recent departure of the band's original drummer Charlie Zeleny. On November 25, 2009, Weasel Walter announced that he was moving to New York City to join the band on drums and will be writing "new, more extreme material from scratch."

Fusing free-jazz, ambient soundscapes, and experimental math metal, Behold... The Arctopus swerve from the logical to illogical with ease. The Warr Guitar, a 12-string instrument that is primarily played by tapping and covers the range of guitar and bass, is the predominant instrument. That in itself is a tremendous oddity, as you rarely ever see such an instrument used in extreme metal, much less in the leading role. There are no vocals, but
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BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS Discography

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.64 | 7 ratings
Skullgrid
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Horrorscension
Progressive Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cognitive Emancipation
Avant-garde Metal 2016

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.93 | 4 ratings
Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Behold... The Arctopus / Orthrelm
Progressive Metal 2006

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS live albums

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Arctopocalypse Now... Warmageddon Later
Progressive Metal 2002

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 3.48 | 3 ratings
Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning
Progressive Metal 2006

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS singles (0)

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Memphis 6-3-06
Progressive Metal 2007

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS Reviews

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS Skullgrid

Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
What a technical extravaganza this is! This band like similar artists Psyopus are what I would call an equivalent to free-jazz only applied to metal, so I guess it could therefore be called free-metal. I understand why many would run away from this since almost all metal is at least somewhat based on the blues. Although Judas Priest began a major departure from the blues in the 70s and created modern metal as we know it, the fact is that most bands have not totally eschewed the scales and patterns that the simple blues established when rock n' roll was born. BEHOLD.. THE ARCTOPUS is a band that has totally gone somewhere else altogether. Although there are brief runs that have bluesy overtones, the song structures here are non-existent. This band simply likes to steer you into unknown territory and then kick it up to 11.

This band is only a trio but all three musicians are incredibly skilled on their instruments of choice. This is totally instrumental. Their ability to play together is staggering as these tracks sound totally random at times and the whole thing reminds me of a magnificent flock of birds that all fly together in harmony and then suddenly turn into a new direction in unison. I actually have an appetite for this insanity. I don't feel like every album or every band needs to use an established protocol to “move” me or tug my heart-strings. Sometimes I just want to take a roller coaster ride and that's what this is... a musical roller coaster ride that twists and turns and uses technical wizardry to suspend your disbelief. Although this isn't something I listen to on a regular basis, when I feel like going to the amusement park for an unadulterated adrenaline rush I find this first full album SKULLGRID to hit that spot.

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS Horrorscension

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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Conor Fynes
'Horrorscension' - Behold the Arctopus (5/10)

Think of the perfect tech metal dream band; a shining example of everything good and great about the style. Now, take that band, and remove everything that would make them even remotely appealing to the general public, and you might get a sense of what Behold the Arctopus sound like. Suffice to say, it’s not a scene for everyone, and I’m still left wondering if I could call myself a fan of what they do. As is to be expected from the trio, “Horrorscension” is an absolute mess in every musical (or non-musical) sense of the word. Like some nightmarish labyrinth, most of the chaotic ideas here lead absolutely nowhere, and a noxious atmosphere of calculated disorder saturates every minute of the album. Its artistic merits aside, Behold the Arctopus’ hideously dense sound is an acquired taste that takes a few rough listens to begin appreciating, although the album never comes close to fulfilling the potential of its ingredients. The mathematics are here, but the chemistry isn’t.

Really, there’s no wondering why Behold the Arctopus’ second album has received such a mixed (though largely negative) response. The music here generally flows in a rhapsodic form, furious tech metal ideas are barraged at the listener, pummeling away for a few seconds before Behold the Arctopus move on to the next idea in line. Although the fanatic precision and cooperation between the guitars and drums implies that each of these ideas were meticulously designed, the composition and structure seem to do everything in their limited power to convince the listener that the music is a random mess. “Disintegore” is a perfect example of this. Although there are a few ideas that initially suggest the track will develop into something cohesive and memorable, it never really goes anywhere. It’s understandable for an instrumental tech metal band to lack a sense of melody, but “Horrorscension” really feels the lack of a thoughtful structure.

Of course, with this and any relatively challenging album, it takes several listens before all of its layers are truly revealed. Around the third or fourth spin, the patchy string of ideas becomes easier to overlook, and the atmosphere becomes more evident. It’s strange for an album of this technical density to have any sort of atmosphere at all, but the chaotic soundscape creates an eerie vibe that I might describe as a lesser counterpart to the feeling that the similarly dissonant Gorguts presented on “Obscura”. Although the screeching, frantic guitars are the most pronounced aspect of the sound of “Horrorscension”, the most impressive aspect is Christopher Walter’s drum performance, an equally sporadic performance that indicates a firm background both in metal and jazz.

There’s little emotion in the performances themselves, but altogether, they create a dark atmosphere, although it’s up to each listener whether they want to stick with it for the first few painful listens. I could draw a comparison between “Horrorscension” and a school bully who dangles a stolen lunchbox in front of little Timmy, only to snatch it away when Timmy makes a reach for it. Although there are some great single ideas here (particularly on the ten minute “Annihilvore”, which seems to nod partways in the direction of black metal), they don’t usually stick around for very long, and when they do, the ideas afterwards break whatever momentum you may have hoped was going to come. It’s a rocky, messy, ugly album, but there’s more to it than first meets the ear.

BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning

Boxset / Compilation · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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topofsm
What do you get when you take a three piece free form jazz band, give them metal instruments including a 12-string bass, and tell them to write the most technical music they can? The answer is Behold.. The Arctopus, who have created quite possibly the most complex music ever created. Not only are the rhythms and time signatures beyond comprehension, but there are no singable harmonies to be found, as there is little to no repition and key signatures have been thrown out the window.

Of course, if it was the most technical music ever created then it probably wouldn't be listenable. Perhaps for some they will never get this type of music. But if nobody took the time to really listen to the music and learn the subtleties and nuances, they might have dismissed some classic albums like Relayer or Brain Salad Surgery and left them as weird or crazy and thus left the albums lost to obscurity. That is why I highly reccomend repeated listenings of "Nano-Nuclear Cyborg Summoning", as after just a few listens, songs become more familiar, and in turn, reveal incredible composition abilities along with high technicality.

After a while, the newly-initiated Behold... The Arctopus fan will be able to predict the melodic playing beginning midway through the EP opener "Exospacial Psionic Aura", which actually reveals some great emotion even amidst over-the top complexity. After that, there is the spacey post-rock/metal intro to "Estrogen/Pathogen Exchange" which serves as a great intro before an explosion of sound. Another highlight is the somewhat simpler "Alchoholocaust" which could almost induce headbanging, until the band decides that the 4/4 playing really is too much and leads back into their signature insanity. The Live second half of the EP really is just a good bonus, where the same great tracks are played before a too-small audience precisely, at the musicianship level of a professional symphony orchestra.

Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning certainly won't appeal to everyone. But for those who decide to give it a go and take the time to learn the subtleties of the music, a whole new world of music will be opened up to them, where over-the-top technicality and atonal noises can sound absolutely beautiful.

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