Many Arms just got a new review for Missing Time. It's a four-part review which includes our very good friends Hyrrokkin and Scorch Trio, led by Raoul Bjorkenheim, who I took a few lessons with a few years back and who has been a big influence on Many Arms
I wasn’t familiar with Many Arms until I picked up their 1st self-released disc “Palabras Malas” at the merch table of a Zevious show (bassist John DeBlase capably serves in both bands). Zevious, by the way, is another excellent power trio with two good albums and a truly great live show. But I think I like Many Arms even more: for me, this band reaches to the top tier of thoughtful and visceral power trio music, and deserves to be celebrated with classic trios like Blind Idiot God and Massacre.
Many Arms splits the difference between Hyrrokkin and Scorch Trio on the composition-to-improvisation continuum. Songs are mostly composed, but many feature intensely high energy solos. And they really excel at both. Compositionally, this music nods to math, prog, drone, psych, jazz, thrash, and more contemporary NYC scenes without bursting at its seams. In terms of playing and soloing quality, the whole band can exhibit an almost punishing display of technique, but they pull it off without turning into “shred” music. Nick Millevoi’s guitar playing in particular floors me. He can spin endless jazz lines or angular stabs of sound with a particularly assertive picking technique. He’s not much of a legato player, but I’ve never heard picking articulation that so effectively demands attention. This is a guitarist to watch carefully. He also recently released a powerful 12-string electric solo record on New Atlantis that I’ll be covering in the near future.
Though John DeBlase is the least flashy performer in Many Arms, maintaining structure when the guitars and drums go wild, he writes a lot of the band’s music, and he gets an especially satisfying fuzz bass workout on the epic “Enfolded Within a Great Flow.” And drummer Ricardo Lagomasino sounds comfortable in every stylistic context he tries, from jazz to blast beats. He’s especially inventive when shifting accents and densities over ostinato bass figures, a technique that makes “Extraction” rock both weirdly and hard. That approach is also responsible for my favorite section on their “Palabras Malas” album, the outro of “The Year 500 Billion.”
“Missing Time” is available from Engine Studios, but also be sure to check the Many Arms BandCamp page, where you can find all of their music. And stay tuned in March—Tzadik Records is set to release the third Many Arms full-length, followed by some April tour dates with Hyrrokkin.