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Arcana Coelestia – Nomas Award winner

Arcana Coelestia
by H.P. Buttcraft at 14 December 2014, 8:29 PM

Italian members of the mind-fraying occult metal band ARCANA COELESTIA have only one real message on their new album "Nomas": in the fire of this world is which we all burn and are born anew into a realm of oblivion.

I was listening to this album, trying to give it an honest effort to hear every track and, can you believe it? Someone starts blaring "Good Day Sunshine" by THE BEATLES on the stereo in the room I was in. It made me laugh because I tried to imagine ARCANA COELESTIA having a good day in the sunshine. After listening to their album "Nomas", I am not entirely sure that’s even possible. "Nomas" is the polar opposite of what that song is about. "Nomas", expressed clearly through the heavy guitar distortion and the varying tempo of the drums as they pound dizzying beats like battering rams in your head; these things have no room being played on a sunny day or even on a good day.

From the very first second of the first track, the album comes through like some sullen, hazy mammoth bleeding profusely from its mouth slowly stomping through the frozen tundra of your imagination. You can feel the painful and dark emotions emanate from the music almost instantly. The band’s natural affinity for the black metal style, which pops up later on in the album, is accented by the gurgling, guttural vocals of the lead singer MZ, member of the bands URNA and LOCUS MORTIS. Think of them as a simple reminder of the futility of your own meager existence. Even the more delicate moments on this record like on "Nomas III" where some synthetic violin and piano come in with a soft interlude, there is this dread to it all. There is a constant reminder from ARCANA COELSTIA that death is soon approaching.

Although the lengths of the songs on "Nomas" are extensive, the album does feel a lot shorter than a typical atmospheric funeral doom metal album should feel. Being around three quarters of an hour long seems like the band may have undercut themselves… or maybe its just that I demanded too much from this record from ARCANA COELESTIA.

The biggest catalyst to this album is the production. Whether or not this was an intentional decision on behalf of the band, the album is pretty quiet. The volume of the "Nomas" record is way dimmer than I was, or now would, expect it to be. I think the engineer did a disservice to ARCANA COELESTIA because the lack of clarity and volume really make you, as the listener, yearn to experience the guitars and drums so much deeper than how the audience hears them. I think this lack of production value is cool in the respects that its reminiscent of older black metal and doom metal albums but its 2014; almost 2015. ARCANA COELESTIA, it together.

But regardless, this album gets a huge pass from yours truly. There’s a huge lurking essence of evil about "Nomas" that’s just so cool. I could imagine that this music would be much better experienced live but if you can’t afford a plane ticket to Italy, this album is the next best thing. I would definitely recommend this album to fans of AHAB, DISSECTION, PALLBEARER, and DARKSPACE or basically if you love your heavy metal oversaturated with atmosphere with just enough melody to make it digestible.

4 Star Rating

1. Nomas I
2. Nomas II
3. Nomas III
4. Nomas IV
5. Nomas V
PV – Drums
RM – Vocals
MZ – Guitars, Bass
Record Label: Avantgarde Music


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