ARCANE Roots' latest tour is a bit of a litmus test.

The Kingston Upon Thames trio have just released their second album, Melancholia Hymns, which is something of a depature from their debut record, Blood and Chemistry, and earlier EP, Left Fire.

The signature big riffs have not gone but now tussle for space alongside frontman Andrew Groves' new appreciation for synths in a brooding, slower, more reflective collection of songs.

And for many fans, this was the first chance to see how that translates live.

The results were mixed.

At a sold-out show at Manchester Academy 3, Arcane Roots came out to play the first two tracks of Melancholia Hymns – Before Me and Matter – back-to-back. 

With a late start and with the crowd itching to get the moshpit started, Before Me wasn't the best of choices.

Slow, a tad pretentious and with an odd sound reminiscent of a church organ it was not really appreciated by the impatient crowd especially with Groves having to make awkward transitions from the keyboard to the guitar due to the technical limitations of being a three-piece.

Matter fared a lot better which combines the band's new influences and the heavy rock sound they are known for.

But the early part of the set was plagued by earsplitting sound problems which left the trio with an uphill battle to win the fans back.

Lucky, then, that they had the Biffy-esque angular riffs of Slow and Sacred Shapes up their sleeves.

Back in safe territory playing to their strengths, fans were generally happier and the set flowed.

But new tracks, Off The Floor and Curtains, were also a hit with the crowd.

Both are slow songs that build to rock stompers. 

It was not a perfect gig. Far from it but there is the real sense that Arcane Roots are on to something big and if they get the balance – and the sound quality – just right next time they could be huge.