Project Arcadia – A Time Of Changes
Reviewed By Kevin Hathaway
“Urban Breed is singing on this? I’m in!” That was more or less how I got to reviewing this. I know I shouldn’t let name association persuade me like that, but Breed has had a pretty good track record thus far with his stints in Bloodbound and Tad Morose. Luckily, Project Arcadia’s A Time Of Changes does little to blemish the man’s resume, providing a hooky, melodic output not unlike the Allen & Lande project.
“Time To Learn” opens up with a surprisingly tech death-inspired string-bending riff before kicking into an all-out speed assault. It’s probably the most unusual song on A Time Of Changes, but everything else is ripped straight from Magnus Karlsson’s guidebook, How To Make 1001 Arena-Oriented Metal Side Projects That All Sound The Same. Cuts like “Shelter Me”, “I Am Alive”, and “The Deal” wouldn’t have been out of place on Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall or even some of Lance King’s early- to mid-era material like Balance Of Power and Shining Star (surely it’s no coincidence that these guys are signed to King’s own Nightmare Records label, eh?). Everything is improved from Project Arcadia’s fairly forgettable first effort, From The Desert Of Desire, largely due to the inclusion of Urban Breed, who has much better control of his voice than Alexander Atanassov, and helps the choruses shine a bit more. The other members are no slouches either, meshing together in a way that is never loud or showy.
The biggest complaint I have with this album is the same problem I have with many projects of its ilk – there are too many mid paced songs that kill the momentum built up by prior tracks. Look, I’m up for a change of pace as much as the next guy, but something about an overabundance of slogging tunes makes listening to albums like this a chore at times. “I Am Alive” and the title track would benefit greatly from even a slight tempo increase. However, I admit there is plenty of good stuff to be had here, like the speedy grower “Beggars At The Door”, which screams At Vance if you stripped away that band’s neoclassical obsession. Basically all the faster cookers are prime and don’t disappoint. It’s when things are slowed down that A Time Of Changes tends to drag a bit. “The Ungrateful Child”, despite being a ballad, is actually quite a moody exception, and has a short but sweet classical guitar solo.
While surely not going to top many year-end lists, there really isn’t a lot wrong with A Time Of Changes. It’s not the fastest, the most extreme, the catchiest, or the most consistent record, but it doesn’t have to be since the band is going for a slightly different audience – one that will more easily embrace more “rocking” moments. If you’ve ever thought, “Man, I wonder what Urban breed would sound like singing these Allen & Lande songs”, wonder no more! What, you’ve never wondered that? Huh, now that I think about it, neither have I. This album is the answer to a question nobody asked, but it’s kind of nice to know the answer anyway.
3.0 // 5