Metal has a reputation as an escapist genre. That could be because some bands indulge in the theatrics and fun of dragons, witchcraft, and swordplay, or because others traffic in gruesome or apocalyptic themes that feel too outsize and horrific to accept as real—even when they’re a staunch reaction to a specific place and time. […]
The music Philadelphia four-piece Cleric play is a kind of metal the way Lost Highway is a kind of movie.
Behold the Arctopus play awesomely intricate, nonrepeating instrumental technical metal—but don’t worry, they know how silly that is.
In Cleric’s long-form metal, the tension just keeps building.