Release DetailsLABEL Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation
RELEASED ON 1/15/2007
Ubi Secreta Colunt
posted on 4/2007 By:
Alchemy, mysticism, paranoia, neuroticism, and human suffering: all choice elements found within the scrawlings of a book entitled Inferno - courtesy of Sweden’s premiere author/playwright/chemist/chemical dabbler of yore, Johan August Strindberg - and also the cardinal theme focused upon by Italy’s latest doom project, Arcana Coelestia.
Ubi Secreta Colunt (loosely translated: “where secrets are tilled”), is basically one man’s doom metal interpretation of a particularly grueling period in August Strindberg’s life. A time when Strindberg was obsessively investigating alchemy, and damn near driven to utter hysteria due to paranoid delusions of persecution mania and drama whipped up within his troubled love life. Strindberg was eventually able to poke his head through the clouds, but only following a period of intense analysis of the works of fellow Swede and scientist/theologian/mystic extraordinaire, Emanuel Swedenborg - a man who also counted a particular tome entitled Arcana Coelestia amongst his varied accomplishments. Too much information? Perhaps. But I think a general grasp of this background info will give the reader a better understanding of what this particular one-man doom project is trying to convey through this recording: an overwhelming sense of calamity, compulsion and near hallucinogenic dementia.
Arcana Coelestia’s mastermind, MZ (also responsible for all the music behind labelmates, Urna and Locus Mortis), has basically taken a page from the Esoteric book of schizoid doom and layered it on top of a soundscape fairly similar to his Urna project. The result is a blackened doom record rife with undulating, flanged guitar work and hallucinatory effects that drape each of the four lengthy tunes in thorough, murky delirium. Sound interesting? Well it should, if you consider yourself a fan of the aforementioned schizoid style of doom, but unfortunately, the same element of dementia intentionally placed at the core of this record often ends up casting too much of a shadow over the fine music layered beneath, leaving somewhat of a blemish on an otherwise alluring listen.
When one wafts away a bit of the haze, you can actually hear a fair bit of variation between each of these tunes. Opener, “Cult of Solitude”, spends equal shares of its near 10-minutes bobbing quietly on tranquil waves as it does crashing down with booming doom, making it the most obvious ode to Subconscious Dissolution era Esoteric, while its follow-up, “Arcane Knowledge Revealed pt. I”, dissipates from severity into a dreamier, Codeine-esque cloud, mostly due to MZ’s departure from layered, death/black vocals into solid, clean swooning. Third cut, “Arcane Knowledge Revealed pt. II”, begins much the same as its predecessor, but eventually shatters into a full-scale black metal romp akin to latter era Gorgoroth, only with a beefier bottom end thudding beneath the nebulous cloak. The record closes out with “Enigma Epitaph”, another plodding, funeral styled number, which also exhibits the record’s only un-blurred moment half-way through, as a short burst of staccato riffing surprisingly rises above the murk before the album eventually fades into the ether during the final two minutes.
Truthfully, I’m still a bit on the fence in regards to Ubi Secreta Colunt. While I certainly feel as though I understand what MZ is trying to channel through his interpretation of this particularly stressful period in Strindberg’s life, I just can’t help but wonder if I’d like the record a lot more if the deranged element were turned down a hair, giving the music more room to breathe. I’d still say this record is worth investigating if you consider yourself a fan of this particular style of doom, but I have a feeling I'll be visiting MZ’s other projects more often.
Register to post comments.