Review of Arcade Messiah’s “III”: The Status Quo Defied

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Artwork by Michael Kerbow (michaelkerbow.com)

Arcade Messiah is a solo project spearheaded by cult Hasting band, Kingbathmat frontman John Bassett who currently resides in Sligo, Ireland. Born in Walthamstow, London, Bassett was raised by his ex-convent nun mother and meter reading father, who fed and looked after him as long as they could. By sixteen, he quit school and left home with little more than the clothes on his back. This left his employment opportunities limited to dull and mundane tasks; guitar and songwriting being his primary source of solstice. His love of music developed at a young age after picking up an acoustic guitar in the family home. Once able to figure out and play along with a number of songs, he found a guitar teacher in Tottenham to assist with chording. What John discovered was that he was playing a right handed guitar left handed, even though he was, in fact, right handed. Playing backwards was simply more comfortable. With this straightened out and a proper, left handed guitar was purchased, chords became natural and progressed directly into songwriting that has evolved into a life long passion.

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Progressive Metal At Its Very Best – The Arbitrary

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If you are like me, you think “The Big Easy”, Mardi Gras, Cajun food, Tulane or Katrina when New Orleans is mentioned, right? Well, it is also considered the birthplace of Jazz, in all of its wonderful variants. Horns, tubas, upright bass, snare drums, accordions; often played in the streets as part of a festival or parade. Sue me. I love it all (mostly traditional Bop and Hard Bop). You get my point. But, you ask yourself, this is a Metal site, correct? This is where things go a little sideways, because there is a new name in Progressive Metal that was born and bred in this same city at the end of the Mississippi River. Hold on tight because, The Arbitrary is about to change your perception of New Orleans music.

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Virtuosity Defined – Raiju

Illustration by Chasing Photons

Illustration by Chasing Photons

According to Wikipedia:

Raijū (雷獣,”thunder animal” or “thunder beast”) is a legendary creature from Japanese mythology. Its body is composed of lightning and may be in the shape of a cat, fox, weasel, or wolf. The form of a white and blue wolf (or even a wolf wrapped in lightning) is also common. It may also fly about as a ball of lightning (in fact, the creature may be an attempt to explain the phenomenon of lightning). Its cry sounds like thunder.

Raiju is the companion of Raijin, the Shinto god of lightning. While the beast is generally calm and harmless, during thunderstorms it becomes agitated and leaps about in trees, fields, and even buildings (trees that have been struck by lightning are said to have been scratched by Raiju’s claws).

Another of Raiju’s peculiar behaviors is sleeping in human navels. This prompts Raijin to shoot lightning arrows at Raiju to wake the creature up, and thus harms the person in whose belly the demon is resting. Superstitious people therefore often sleep on their stomachs during bad weather, but other legends say that Raiju will only hide in the navels of people who sleep outdoors.

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