The members of Arcanium are technically skilled and plenty passionate — but when it comes to distinctiveness and originality, they've still got a ways to go. Most of the cuts here use a template exemplified by "Trapped in the Niche" and "The Knife": The vocals of frontman Sinn and backing throats Cate and Messiah alternate between spittle-spewing excoriations and moody crooning, while the music juxtaposes galloping riffs and hyperactive drumming with occasional melodic passages. (Exception: "Arcanium," the song for which the band is named, which stays heavy via chants of "Get real!" and aromatic lines like "The stench is in my nostrils.") It's hardly a unique formula, and while Arcanium delivers it pretty well, so do a lot of other bands. The Architects could have used some fresher designs.


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