The cover of Horrorscension
  • The cover of Horrorscension

I have a theory as to why the most recent Behold the Arctopus record, last year’s Horrorscension (Blackmarket Activities), has been pretty much unanimously panned at Encyclopaedia Metallum. Well, it’s not so much a theory as it is a biased and potentially inflammatory assumption, but isn’t that what music criticism is all about?

Behold the Arctopus consists of guitarists Colin Marston (Dysrhythmia, Gorguts, Krallice) and Mike Lerner (Direwolf) and drummer Weasel Walter, a former Chicagoan best known as mastermind of the Flying Luttenbachers (though he’s also a ferocious improviser). Let’s call their music “instrumental technical metal” for the moment. Marston plays a hilariously large Warr guitar (an actual builder’s name, not a sideways reference to the “air” and “earth” basses in Magma), whose layout of six melody strings and six bass strings, designed for fretboard tapping, permits him to execute two simultaneous lines. Under “Band Interests” on Facebook it says, “Notes, many notes.”

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. You can also follow him on Twitter.