Artist: Arapacis
By: Dan Brisebois

It’s unfortunately rather rare to have a band hit the mark on its first try, but that’s what happened with Arapacis’ debut, SO MANY LEAPERS. Initially formed in 2003, the Montreal foursome consists of Shelsey Jarvis on vocals, Jerry Fielden on guitars, Gab Boudreault on bass and drummer Ray Tessier. The band has headlined the Hard Rock Cafe in Montreal, as well as opened for Anvil and Raven, among other heavy hitters.

Released in 2006, the album is as if the 70s legends have been brought up to date. The list of bands Arapacis calls influences is impressive and deep – Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Mountain, and even Janis Joplin. But a highlight of SO MANY LEAPERS is it’s progressiveness with an edge – hence the Rush and Iron Maiden undertones.

Fielden is the chief song writer, and the lyrics are provoking, if not tantalizing, – delvng into a wide range of emotions. From the opening speed riffs of the lead-off title track, the album has balls, there’s no mistaking that. “Drop of Hope” is arguably one of the best underground heavy tracks this year. “Histories” is the token ballad on the record. The trap many bands fall into is not taking the opportunity to make slower paces something special. That’s far from the case here. The song’s intricate vocal mix plays well with the a carefully thought-out keyboards underlay.

Listen to “Tale Spin” and you’ll hear the Maiden influences – “Reflections” and you can’t help but think Hendrix – as Fielden tears through the tempo changes like the proverbial axe through butter, all the while Jarvis’ vocals tear into you and seldom let go. Sometimes borderline goth, often wrenching and always intriguing – she has one of the best sets of pipes on the scene today. “Soldier of Fun” is an interesting number, that features one of Jarvis’ best vocal performances.

The mix on “Time’s Has Been” showcases an almost goth-feel to the song, and can actually be heard being hinted at throughout the album. “Fast Fingers” is sure to be a hit with any fan of screaming guitar licks, with keyboard solos highlighting an instrumental that’s held down with a solid back beat.

Artist: Arapacis
By: Dan Brisebois

The second album from Arapacis is a riveting blend of sonic metal, insightful lyrics and haunting melodies set to overdrive.

Consisting of guitarist and chief songwriter Jerry Fielden, Lizzie Fyre on vocals, Dmitri Mak-Mak on bass, and drummer Pedro Osorio, the band has built a cult following over the last few years around the Montreal area market, opening for the likes of Raven and

Anvil, and headlined at The Hard Rock Hotel.

They’re one of Canada’s hottest flag bearers of the evolution of modern metal, and CONSEQUENCES OF DREAMS shows their maturity in songwriting and growth as a unit. While still maintaing their influences, they put their own trademark energy and interpretation into solidly written and produced material.

Where the influences are more evident in their 2008 debut, with this album they’re there, but subdued. You can hear intricate melodies from the likes of Iron Maiden or Nightwish while Fielden’s axe tears through guitar solos reminiscent of Zakk Wylde.

But the band has experimented while putting a unique twist on some great song cores. Tracks like “The Green Fairy,” “Haunted Forests,” and “Hesitate” showcase one of Canadian rock’s strongest young voices, with Fyre capable of several ranges and styles. They’re heavy, but manage to not stay in one place so long as to become predictable.

The epic instrumental “Thunder Lizard” with its Bonzo-esque drum solo is one of several musical standouts on this record. “Death of Loneliness” is one of two ballads on the record, and a carefully woven acoustic guitar surrounds hauntingly strong vocals in this gem. The political thriller “Theocracy” and “Roadways” hold their own against any indie material out there today on this all-round solid effort.

Artist: Arapacis
By: Dan Brisebois

The third album from Montreal’s Arapacis is a continuation of an assault on everything you’ve come to understand heavy metal to be – nine originals that make you take notice.

The lineup is streamlined to a trio – with Lizzie Fyre on vocals, guitarist Jerry Fielden, and drummer Mathieu Roy, along with a host of guest studio musicians.

Most of the songs on NETHERWORLD are too long (and WAY too heavy) for conventional radio play, but that fits into the apparent game plan just fine. The songs simply have too much going for them to restrain them to under three and a half minutes – designed for appreciation, not heard then forgotten. With each listen you take home something new.

“Lord of the Clouds” rings in at seven minutes, a mini-epic with a haunting guitar solo and solid backbeat that highlights one of the hardest-working bands on the circuit. Other songs like the lead-off “End of the Line,” “Crisis,” and “Beneath Me” are pure energy – frantic fretwork that carefully doesn’t cross the line of monotony.

The grungy screaming won’t be for everyone, but songs like “The Affliction” and “Beneath Me” showcase Fyre’s vocal prowess – what some might consider the epitome of the next generation of Canadian rockers, a new standard that’s being set and will be hard to match.

With the acoustic renderings in “Beautifully Blind,” “Unbirth,” and the instrumental “Dark Days Ahead” (the only tune under three minutes), the songs show a band that’s matured, but still growing. They’re comfortable in their own skin, and is now simply evolving, reaching for new plateaus.