The Enigmatic Progressive Rock of Drott (mems. Enslaved, Ulver) Enters the “Arch of Gloom” (Music Video Premiere)
As much as progressive rock lends itself to sweeping tundras, it also possesses an equally important insular element. The best passages reflect self-discovery, and adventurous song structures can mirror how conflicts aren’t always resolved through an easily traversable path. Drott, the three-piece instrumental act comprised of Arve Isdal of Enslaved, Ulver percussionist Ivar Thormodsæter, and Matias Monsen, exemplify progressive rock’s introspective qualities in the music video for their new single “Arch of Gloom,” directed and edited by Jens Kristian Rimau. Watch the video now:
The track is a meditative moment in the context of their upcoming debut album Orcus. “Arch of Gloom” is slotted near the end of the narrative, just before the climactic title track. The single’s jazzy rhythm section ventures inwards rather than expands. The drums and bass are innocuous enough that Isdal’s guitar soliloquy has ample space to weave around the rhythm, yet there’s an identifiable propulsion in the mix. It’s certainly progressive in the sense that there’s exploration done here, but the reserved tone implies that it’s an internal monologue. The instrumental piece is meant to be Drott's final descent before confronting the Lord of the Underworld, the titular Orcus. “Arch of Gloom” is distinct from Ulver’s late-career pop fascination and Enslaved’s more progressive leanings by maintaining a strict focus on form. It more recalls Ulver’s recent improvisational release Hexahedron (Live at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter) wherein the marvel of discovery lies not in the overt musicality but the subtle ways it conveys contemplation.
In the video for "Arch of Gloom," Drott adorn plague-doctor-esque masks, perhaps to protect themselves from the looming power of Orcus. They fixate on the surrounding flora as if it is their final chance to engage with this world. Both the video and the song end by fading into light; a rather optimistic conclusion given the group’s impending meeting with the judge of the dead. Consider it a moment of levity. You can take it as an excuse to step outside and smell the flowers for yourself. It’s doubtful you’ll face anything as fearsome as what awaits Drott at the end of their journey on Orcus.
From the band:
At the end of a dark and bouncy road lies the Arch of Gloom. Through persistent bass and drums, Arch of Gloom is driven to the point of desperate collapse by a haunting guitar solo. Mesmerizing in its mystical attraction, it hypnotizes desperate souls into a surrealistic dance before they are lured down the abyss to face the verdict of Orcus.
Orcus releases on September 24th via By Norse Music (EU pre-orders available here, and NA pre-orders available here).