Release DetailsLABEL Stygian Crypt Productions
RELEASED ON 3/1/2006
posted on 4/2007 By:
When I first saw the pile of Stygian Crypt releases that ended up on my desk recently I wasn’t expecting too much out of the Russian label. Last time we received a bunch of material from that part of the globe it came in the form of the country’s take on power metal, and simply put it didn't go over too well with neither staff nor many readers. After noticing on the press packet that most of what lay in front of me fell within the doomy n’ deathy realm of underground metal, my level of expectation still remained cautious, but I must say my point of curiosity rose a couple notches.
Like many bands that play this style, many thanks have to go out to bands like My Dying Bride and Anathema for setting the groundwork many years back. With a production that sounds like it was recorded about 10 or more years ago, Dusty Lord (aka The Dusty Sovereign - I've seen it listed differently) would have fit in with the aforementioned bands' early catalogs with ease. After a beautifully and serenely paced piano intro starts things off, "Ten Samogo Sebya" emerges with a mid-tempo chug that eventually leads into a cleanly strung interlude, and after "Bez Pereman" follows it’s quite evident that the acoustic segments play an integral part in the band's overall sound, not to mention some keyboards that serve the riff rather than steal the limelight. The album’s vocal section comes in a mixture of low end growls punctuated by high end rasps in the background, and that formula pretty much holds true for the entire album.
Two fully acoustic tracks, entitled "Etude 1" and "Etude 2", will bring a more modern day Anathema to mind, and they also show the band’s ability to bring a more classical style to the fray. If one thing is evident it’s that both instrumental acoustic tracks set the perfect stage for the heaviness brought forth in the songs that follow them – the harmonic and keyboard accentuated "Pylnyl Vladkya" and the slow, brooding languish of "Bessonitsa" respectively. "Ya Mog Byt Drugim" is another instrumental track with an almost folk-ish acoustical strum that sees the bass play a more melodic role, then the song slowly leads into a more Turn Loose the Swans era MDB rumble with some crafty keyboard driven scamper peppering the dreariness. Closer, and the band’s namesake, "Arcanar" brings more of the slower doom sound to light with a solid mixture of chunky girth and more cleanly strung acoustics. All in all a brilliant display of diversity and variety of sounds.
At the end of the day I can’t say enough about the songwriting this album flaunts, as each track, though not perfect, is a keeper in my book. Although the production is a bit thin in terms of hefty chunk, the musicianship ranks pretty high and the execution and know how on display is impressive to say the least. It should be noted that this album has been out for a bit now, and it’s a shame that it didn’t make its way to my side of the pond a lot sooner. Thin production aside, the songwriting throughout will be enough for doom/death fans to do the legwork to get their hands on this release.
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