The Arch - Sanctuary Rat (Dryland Records)

  Van Muylem    22 september 2023

With Sanctuary Rat, their seventh studio album, The Arch make an impressive return! The new LP has been released on 09/22/2023, via Dryland Records (as a six-panel CD Digi sleeve and digitally). Their unique New-Wave/Dark-Romance sound combines guitar parts, electronic elements, and driving beats with a touch of bittersweet melancholy. With Sanctuary Rat, The Arch once again impressively enrich their own band history in 2023 with ten new energetic songs.

The Belgian New-Wave band The Arch was founded in the summer of 1986 in Breendonk, Belgium. Under the direction of Ludo Camberlin, the renowned producer of The Neon Judgement and The Weathermen, their first album As Quiet As was released in 1987, featuring the underground hit Babsi ist Tot, which still fills dance floors today.

With the song Ribdancer, released three years later, The Arch gained worldwide fame, and extensive concert tours took them all across Europe. During this time, the band solidified their reputation as an excellent live act, sharing the stage with Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), The Mission, Clan Of Xymox, and The Neon Judgement, among others. Furthermore, they appeared at numerous festivals such as Wave Gothic Treffen, Wfest, Dark Malta, New Waves Day, NCN, or M'era Luna, and they were also headliners at Sinnersday 2021. Additional concert tours are planned in the wake of the new album.

In addition to the digital version of Sanctuary Rat, the album is also available as a six-page digi-sleeve with a lyric booklet and a The Arch sticker.

Devil's Breed starts with a piano and an emotional voice. The song builds up slowly. I can feel the melancholia, the despair, the real feelings …! The tempo is slow, but the lyrics set the dark mood. Check out the clip too!

9.81 has a higher tempo, keeps the darkness from the previous song, focusses more on the guitar and electrified sound. I like the guitar sound, even very much! Most people already know this song as it has already been launched as a single with a clip.

Clear Fields has already been launched with a clip (the 4th one actually) and totally deserved it! The beginning starts with some kind of country & western feel, backed up by a dark mood, a mysterious & haunting touch. I feel this one might become a hit!

Deathwalls mixes gothic with EBM. I adore the warm sound. If they put a strobe during their live shows it might work out like just perfect to set the right mood. It’s once again a top track!

Sanctuary Rat is the title track and brings us a nice gothic/electro minded track with a nice tempo and really great electronic parts. The melancholic part is also really nice.

Laments of an Icarus starts slowly with an almost floating sound. The title describes in a perfect way what to expect.

Lines builds up slowly and ends with a tiny wall of sound. I feel like this one might be good to end a live show. The guitar is nicely shredding and the electronic part also sounds great.

The Peace starts with an acoustic guitar and a floating electrified sound. It’s a slow lamenting song.

Gorilla Kiss has a nice melancholic sound that thrives on guitars and a perfect synth sound. If you speed up a bit the tempo it might even become a hit! Maybe a new mix will push it to the top and it drive it to the charts!

The Bullet ends the album in a soft but dark way with whispering vocals and music that almost sounds like part of a funeral announcement mixed with a more floating sound. It’s like knowing the bullet will hit and kill, but it all happens in slow motion. I’m not sure if this one will fit during a live show.

Well the album has highlights but also contains a few slow songs that will according me never fit during a live show (but are great on an album). The global sound is worth it and I’m sure they will play a lot of great shows later on and put themselves again on the map and conquer more hearts!

Don’t miss them for the release party: 22/9 Rijkevorsel.