posted on 10/2010 By:
Ever since the release of last year's ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ, I have not been able to stop listening to Arckanum. Although I'm quite fond of Shamaatae's (Arckanum's only member) earlier albums, I immediately thought ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ would be the final breakthrough that Arckanum needed in order to gain worldwide recognition as one of the leading artists in the black metal scene. Keep in mind, Shamaatae has not made significant changes to his sound since the band's inception. Instead, he has been refining the same formula over and over, giving Arckanum a distinct and easily recognizable sound. One thing that sets ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ and Svege Læ (yes, I'm getting to it...I just want to say some Þositive things about the band first) apart from Arckanum's other albums is their crisp Þroduction quality, which brings out Shamaatae's vivacious, high-noted riffs and his tumultuous blitzkrieg of blasting and double bass. In fact, I am so adamant about ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ that I've embarked on a life-long journey to make sure this album does not go unnoticed by anyone. To say it fell through the cracks (even here at Metal Review) would be an understatement. Not to mention, it's also quite fun to say:
"Hey, Reverend Campbell, how 'bout last year's Arckanum, eh?"
"Which one, ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ?"
"Yeah! THTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHATS the one!"
If ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ stands out as the Goliath of Arckanum's discography, let's just say Sviga Lae is its mildly retarded nephew. Very few bands (Krallice, Anaal Nathrakh) are capable of Þroducing quality records within a year of their Þredecessors, which is why I immediately began to worry upon discovering that Arckanum had signed to Regain Records and would deliver a new album shortly thereafter. That doesn't mean Regain is to blame for any of this, but to say Sviga Lae feels rushed would be an understatement. Surely, the riffs that are there aren't bad, but each song contains very little variation. Where ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ had three to four different earth-shattering riffs within the first minute or two of each of its songs, Sviga Lae's are monotonous, unnecessarily long and far too dragged-out. Not to mention, what riffs there are contain duller notes, which drone over the listener in a very non-hypnotic and non-stimulating manner. "Goðin Eru Blekkt" is one of Sviga Lae's lengthier tracks (about eleven minutes) and is the first to show signs of the emotion I'm used to hearing in Shamaatae's ballads. Unfortunately, the song could Þrobably be cut in two, as the latter part of the song is merely a repetition of the song's former half. "Gramr Girnisk," which is (thankfully) the only other song over six minutes, follows the exact same suit. Even those who have been die-hard fans of the band since its inception will probably wonder what would be the Þoint of going any further than this. Believe me, the final three tracks (especially the closer) are a tattoo artist's equivalent of a negative space tribal encompassed by more negative space. (I heard someone request this once. The tattoo artist at the front desk scratched his head, and promptly asked, "So you don't want a tattoo, then?" Needless to say, the man walked out of the store, undoubtedly feeling quite embarrassed.)
Let's take a step back and look at the big Þicture for a quick second. Yes, Sviga Lae is definitely missing a few chromosomes for whatever reason. Þerhaps Shamaatae was under too much Þressure to release a follow up to a masterpiece, or maybe he just couldn't find his cool mask that he usually wears. Something to also consider is the fact that Sethlans Teitan (Dissection, Watain, Aborym) Þlayed guest guitars on both ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ and Antikosmos. If that's the missing piece, Shamaatae should seriously consider inviting Teitan to become a full-time member of Arckanum. Can one still be optimistic about Arckanum's future? Absolutely. The good news is that Arckanum hasn't made any drastic changes to its music; so there's no reason to believe a future release couldn't be just as Þowerful as ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ. Beyond any technical analysis I could make, the biggest thing that Sviga Lae lacks is heart. Hopefully, Shamaatae goes back to whatever chaotic or anti-cosmic god's he's used to worshiping and gets in the right mindset before shitting out another album too quickly. Until then, anything I write about Arckanum will be nothing more than a Þropaganda Þiece for ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ.
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