Hidden Gems: Arcane – Known/Learned (2015)
Genre: Progressive metal
Release date: 20th January, 2015
Record label: (Self-released)
Before its heart-breaking dissolution at the end of 2015, Australian rock mavens Arcane honestly had the potential to be untouchable progressive metal titans. Led by Caligula’s Horse frontman Jim Grey, the post-modern quintet specialised in meaty melodies, enormous hooks and, above all else, crafting gargantuan movements lengthy enough to make the likes of Dream Theater blush.
Incorporating instruments like the acoustic guitar, piano, keyboard, mellotron, mandolin and organ into their heavy rock n’ roll sound, Arcane were gaining an astonishing amount of traction at an amazing rate before their abrupt break-up. And a huge result of the adoration for this experimental juggernaut came as a result of the double album Known/Learned.
A complex mind-bender consisting of sixteen tracks and over two hours of new music, Known/Learned continues to be an untouchable magnum opus over two years after it first saw the light of day.
It forms a massive collection of guttural riffs, emotive tranquillity, soaring harmonies and constantly polyrhythmic time signatures, stunning especially with the 23-minute “Learned” and the orchestral opener “Promise (Part 2)”.
But, in truth, everything about Known/Learned is perfect. As a result, this album is an endless joy to experience again and again, but also bizarrely saddening. Although there is always hope, it looks as if (for the near-future at least) the insanely talented five-piece that crafted this gorgeous audial dream will not be capitalising upon the very much deserved momentum this record began to give them.
As a result, Known/Learned may always become a shining feature of the underground that begs for the attention it deserves. And that’s why it needed to be Far Beyond Written’s inaugural Hidden Gem.
Known/Learned is still available physically and digitally on Arcane’s Bandcamp page.