The Smashing Skull Sessions

The Smashing Skull Sessions is a podcast, interview and review website, set up to showcase and support the underground rock and metal scenes. Our goal is to promote artists and bands from right across the globe, giving them another voice and another forum in which to get their music out to a greater audience. We also have a new review series, The Review Room, which is another unique way of getting bands and artists some extra coverage and promotion

Arhios – Miscible

I have always admired French bands. I always find that the French, as a people, have no fear in showing how they feel. Impulsively, and with great determination, they give it everything, whether it’s driven by the acrimony of politics, whether it’s cinematically showcased through film, or whether its conveyed through the power of music. And when the style of music in question lends itself to being as emotionally invested as instrumental/post rock allows it to be, then you know you are going to have something special on your hands.

Hailing from Rennes, Arhios are a band that seem to have a little bit of that French magic in them, that I spoke of above. Miscible is their latest output, and was released only last month, but I have to say, it’s a solid and very polished slab of rock that encompassed many musical styles and techniques, ranging from post-rock, to math-rock, to electronica. But I suppose the clue was in the album title!

Bachibouzook opens proceedings with an up-tempo beat and a fuzzy layer of indie-strewn guitars, that build and open into a math-rock crescendo that doesn’t quite explode into that big finale, but hovers in and around a flurry of guitar hooks, funky base lines and rolling percussions. Catchy, clever and downright infectious!

Nothing remains stagnant on Miscible, and a track like Bara really shows this, along with its heavier and meatier undertones. Rumblings of And So I Watch You From Afar open the track with a deliciously heavy rhythm guitar leading the line, bringing the math and the funk along with it for fun! Mellow breaks and an air of electronica splits the track up into several parts, allowing each section to thrive and weave through some really groovy chord progressions. Then you have Bangor, which comes in waves, and is in stark contrast to what has gone before, with its electronic doodling and lush wall of synths. Patient and with purpose, the track descends to a canter with some delicate guitar picking, generating this beautiful blanket of warmth and radiance. A really upbeat and positive piece of music that echoes sunny days and a feelgood factor of ten!

Arhios weren’t scrounging when it came to Miscible either. There’s eight tracks here to get lost in, with each one bringing something a little different along with it. From the vast and open atmospheric wilderness of Dune to the stomping, multi-layered passion that’s flowing freely from Daria, this album is an absolute delight. It reminds me so much of A burial At Sea’s self-titled release from 2020. Both are interesting, diverse and both finish on a glorious high. The final build and crescendo on Daria is nothing short of heavenly. The emotion, passion and sheer elation found within it, is simply spine-tingling.

Do yourself a huge favour and head to Bandcamp, and help support artists like Arhios. I didn’t know too much about these guys before this release, but they are on my radar now, and I will be keeping my beady little eyes peeled on future tour dates!