Arckanum's 2009 release is a very different animal from the one-man group's first three albums, which were all reissued the same year. The band's primitive black metal riffing has been bolstered with megadoses of thrash power, low-end, and general catchiness (by the standards of extreme metal). Some of the other trademarks of the band's late-'90s work, though, have been minimized. The animal cries and sounds of the forest are almost entirely gone (there's some wind blowing on the nearly five-minute interlude "Pjazagaldr") as are the atmospheric keyboards and the haunting female vocals that provided a welcome contrast with frontman/bandleader Shamaatae's ferocious croak. The first break with the pattern of blastbeats, fierce vocalizations in ancient Swedish, and buzzsaw guitar work comes on the fifth track, a 90-second hunk of unaccompanied guitar that's reminiscent of Mick Barr (Orthrelm, Krallice) in its singlemindedness. This is followed by "Pjóbaugvittr," which offers an almost anthemic riff but subverts it with a buzzing, minimalist production. This album is very well played and retains the thin, punky sound of old-school black metal while still seeming modern. But at the same time, it's hard to shake the feeling that Shamaatae's best work was his wild early stuff, and now he's stripped away too much of what made his work unique and interesting.
- Release Date:
- Moribund Records
Performance CreditsArckanum Primary Artist
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