posted on 3/2010 By:
It has been a while since I have heard an album like Diamanthian’s Arcana Doctrina. Arcana Doctrina is death metal that does not lend itself to any particular qualifier. Containing elements of brutality, technicality and melody, but none too excess, Arcana Doctrina is just straight up death metal, and as the song goes: “There ain’t nothing wrong with that”… at least in theory.
Diamanthian in their slower moments resemble bands such as Incantation and Immolation, with a dark brooding sound that oozes malevolence. However, slow and heavy is not Diamanthian’s only trick: Boosted by some furious double bass, the band is equally adept at high speed tremolo picking in the vein of classic Morbid Angel. In addition, the band’s music is complemented by some sparse, but very tasteful guitar solos, such as the gem on “Defiling the Eucharist.”
From the above description Arcana Doctrina would, seem to be precisely my cup of tea. Yet, after repeated listens, the album fails to capture my interest for more than a few fleeting moments at a time, and I am not sure why. Diamanthian’s delivery is solid, the only flaws I detect amount to nit-picking: The drumming is too rigid and repetitive, and the vocals are rather one dimensional, but neither of these things amount to a deal breaker. Neither does the production prove a hindrance, providing clarity, punch and a hefty low end. The anti-Christian lyrics are certainly not enough to put me off. Hell, I love Venom, and Diamanthian’s lyrics, by contrast, are positively Shakespearian. Thus, I am left with songwriting as the most likely source of my malaise, but, ostensibly, things seem fine on that front as well. Within in the confines of its chosen style, Diamanthian is fairly adventurous, ranging from the sub-three minute blast, of “Transfiguration” to nine and a half minute doom/death epic “Awakening the Leviathan.”
What then, you are likely asking, is my problem with this album? In the end, I think Diamanthian is too much a product of its influences; the band lacks a unique identity of its own. Arcana Doctrina is a well crafted album and to less jaded ears, it might just satisfy a craving for classic death metal. As for myself, I think this is a good start, but I hope Diamanthian will come up with something a little less run of the mill next time.
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