Arcane Grail – Arya Marga [2009]

Band: Arcane Grail
Album: Arya Marga
Release year: 2009
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal


Russia, once home to the most known communist dictatorship, is fast becoming the home of a an ever growing Extreme Metal scene featuring bands such as Blackthorn, Artania and Arcane Grail. 2009 saw the release of Arcane Grail’s most recent album “Arya Marga”.

The album begins with the self-titled track “Arcane Grail”. The intro is now what would be expected of a black metal band, as the intro is more clean and less aggressive than most tracks classified as track metal. The female vocals are unexpected though when their first part finishes the track transforms into a raging demon. The vocals that follow after sound almost like Nergal’s [Behemoth’s frontman] vocals. The use of double bass pedal adds a certain devilry to the track, whilst the keyboard sections are somewhat gothic in their style and the guitars scream aggression. The female vocals add a new sound to the song overall, though they sound too operatic in sections.

”Of Snake And Raven” begins with a calm, melodic piano medley and strong soprano styled vocals – A tad cliché in terms of the symphonic elements. The guitar sections are heavy and the male vocal parts are raw and aggressive, though the track seems to be more symphonic than metal. “Autumn Wed Us, Sinned And Lone” has a very dramatic and tense symphonic introduction, similar to those of old Nightwish. The guitar riffs are more akin to progressive and power metal as opposed to black metal. The female vocals make another appearance alongside the harsher, more raw male vocals. The keyboard medleys and riffs add a very Gothic-like element to the song, whilst the male vocals add a very death metal sound.

“Renaissant The Reverie” has a very thrash-black metal sound to begin with, mixed with the dramatic symphonic sounds. The vocals are like the demonic wailings of a banshee whilst the female vocals add a very Heavenly touch to the song. The drum riffs are precise to the beat, almost like a machine in their playing. The symphonic elements are very dominant as well with a heavy use of guitars as well. The sorrowful piano beginning of “Sorrow Of Forgotten Pride” follows after. The piano medley does much to create atmosphere. Clean male vocals and soft acoustic guitar riffs follow after, carrying on the solemn sound of the song. The female vocals work magically alongside the clean, male vocals. The track does turn heavy and there’s a use of flutes as well which adds a very mystifying effect to the music. The harsher vocals are featured towards the end, adding a very aggressive touch to the song.

“Imprisoned In The Greatest War” has a very interesting introduction, being composed of the sound of soldiers marching and a military drumroll. The track turns heavy after the sound of a bomb exploding. The riffs have a more black metal sound, combined with the grim screams. The symphonic sections seem to be drowned out by the guitars, drums and vocals – To as whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is something for the listener to decide. “Die Sonnenhymne”, put bluntly, is a buzzkill if the listener if expecting more Russian brutality as the track is composed only of soprano vocals singing in Russian.

“Iniquitous Yoke” brings the brutality and aggressiveness back in full blitzkrieg-like force beginning with a beastly guitar section and demonic vocals. The keyboard sections are astounding and the operatic vocals add a very dramatic touch to the song. The album finishes with “Svyatoy Graal’”. The intro is slower and cleaner than expected and there seems to be a slight more emphasis on the female vocals than the previous track. However the track does take a dangerously violent twist and become more bloodthirsty and rage-fuelled. The track does switch between calm and angry however and there is a wonderful section with a voiceover in what sounds to be Russian.

Though the album seems incorrectly labelled as “symphonic black metal”, Arya Marga has plenty of brutal riffs and brilliant symphonic sections to keep the listener entertained. Arya Marga is a sure sign that many great things will be coming from both Arcane Grail and the Russian Metal Scene.

4/5

Nico Davidson

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