Reflect back on your childhood, what do you remember? What do you feel? There is a high chance that you experience a flooding sensation of sudden happiness. With these nostalgic thoughts of an era long past people often draw the same conclusion; wishing you had a time machine so you could go back to that time where everything was so much simpler. However not many people think about the moment where it went wrong, how come you see everyone and everything as a potential threat? Constantly looking over you shoulder for people that can fuck you over with every opportunity they get. Why do you suddenly hate the world and more importantly: why does the world suddenly hate YOU? I don’t think we will ever have the true answers to those questions. Australian progressive deathcore titans Enfiêld wrote a concept about this harsh journey from ignorant bliss into angst and depravity, the appropriately titled Arcadia:Exile depicts this journey in the most brutal, unforgiving way imaginable. Warning: like most other things in Australia, listening to this album is not without its risks and can quite possibly kill you.
If you’re thinking this is going to be another one of those progressive albums with over-lengthy instrumentals and whiney clean singing you will soon be in for a very rude awakening. As the intro The Observer lets you know right from the start; Arcadia:Exile is a blistering display of eardrum-destroying technicality. Prepare to be turned inside out and have your face pulled out through your anus once you hear the clashing drums, flawless vocals and rolling guitar blasts shivering through your speakers. ”The Observer” also stands for the overseer in the album’s concept, being voiced by the vocalist as he sees our young protagonist grow darker and angrier with each passing song. If you haven’t been blown away yet,Cartography will surely change that; on this track the pressuring ambience created by the screeching guitars becomes more noticeable and will seep from your ears to the depths of your soul, whether you like it or not. The lines between aggressiveness and ambience are phenomenal here; perfection in every way. 1543 has a more djenty sound to it, addictive guitar shredding and deep bass bounces bombard your senses, this is the type of sound that will make sparks fly and give you an uncontrollable urge to fuck shit up. You experience a moment of serenity on the next track Perpetualist, lulling you into a false sense of security, for the worst is yet to come. The serene atmosphere quickly makes way for something far more ferocious; slow, heavy death metal assaults pound through your skull, echoing through your whole skeleton until it starts to crack. We are nearly at our final destination: rock bottom, but not before you get a taste of how the second half of Arcadia:Exile is like. My favorite song Blackwater is up next and you will know why it’s my favorite soon enough; the listener is overwhelmed by a fiery deathcore sound here, the synergy between the drumming and guitars is simply mind-fucking, as are the highly caustic screams of the multiple vocalists. This moment shows the real relentless potential of what Enfiêld has to offer. By now you have finally reached the inevitable last stop on your journey; exile. The self-titled track slowly chews its way out of your weakened body, stretching and tearing your skin and crushing those bones that were still intact at this point. A new man stands before the world, a man who sees this whole world as his enemy and all its inhabitants as worthless bags of walking meat. With puddles of blood and pieces of bone scattered next to him, the man sees his precious childhood burn to ashes before his eyes. Maybe this was not his fault? Maybe there is no such thing as coincidence and some vengeful divine being is hindering his happiness? Sadly there are things us humans just aren’t allowed to know, instead we are forced to rot away in the pool of filth known as humanity.
I tried explaining this album with words but in reality there are no words to be found for this amazing debut EP. For a progressive band Enfiêld knows how it should be done; using the progressive elements on top of the straight-in-your-fucking-face aggression and not the other way around. Arcadia:Exile may have lots of immersive atmosphere and an original concept, it remains a performance of bruising animosity at its core, taking its place amongst the heaviest albums you are going to hear in the year 2013.
Arcadia:Exile was recorded and mixed by Sam Yates. It was mastered by Julian Rodriguez (known for Elitist) and will be available on 1/10/13.
For fans of: Shadow of the Colossus, The Contortionist(old). Volumes, Whitechapel, Oceano