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Arcane Marrow – The Elders Present To Me

Arcane Marrow
The Elders Present To Me
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 27 September 2021, 9:27 AM

ARCANE MARROW is a black metal band from Knoxville, Tennessee.  "The Elders Present To Me" is their full length debut. I live in Tennessee too so it is pretty cool to be reviewing a metal band from here!  At a first, brief, listen it wouldn't be too out of the park to assume ARCANE MARROW is a traditional black metal band with a very straightforward sound. "The Elders Present To Me," certainly has traditional elements, particularly with the lo-fi production and mixing job. However, once the album is dived into, the band's sound opens up and becomes quite the enjoyable ride.

Of course this rough mix is definitely an acquired taste. Although I could instantly hear the song writing prowess of this young band, it take quite a few spins for me to get over the album’s production.  Stick with it and eventually it will open up and you'll hear the details. The songs are on the longer side with just one track being under seven minutes but thankfully they use every second to the fullest. Unlike a lot of traditional black metal, the songs have more than one or two riffs and there are tempo changes.

The band immediately displays their knack for infusing melody with the opening guitars of "Nocturnal Neanderthal Wisdom," a belter of a song that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The drums are impressive— perpetually intense but with a focused purpose that compliments the song while paying respect to genre standards. The lead guitar work is just as impressive. It isn't often that I hear raw black metal that uses leads as an effective element but the band welds this tool well. The last minute and a half or so of the song features one such solo that fits into the atmosphere—– it isn't flashy or technically dazzling but it isn't meant to be either.

The depressive tones and slower pacing of "Glacial Tears Flood The Primeval Plains," grabbed me from the first second.  As the song progresses, the band shows off their skill for changing the songs up in an organic way without being too abrupt. The song picks up speed, with the drums hammering down as needed. The riffs change and move along as the song slows down a notch around the 3:13 mark. At this point, the song is both more oppressive and depressive.

"Before The First Notion Of God," barrels out of the gate, the drums striking through the blackened atmosphere and sort of dueling out with the guitars to see which can be more furious.  The solo that starts at 1:35 is wonderful because it doesn't sound like a black metal lead but also doesn't sound out of place. The song doesn’t miss a beat coming out of the solo and the bass actually grabs hold of the moment and carries the song away with a solid display of groove and power. The music grows progressively more dark and around the 6:45 mark, it becomes nearly oppressive with the thick riffs and focused drums. Dark groove floods out from the title track, encompassing and raw.  I like the shift from this mid paced passage to much faster one that follows as it is swift and without warning. As far as the riffs goes, this is one of the album's best songs. It is total annihilation wrapped up into a big wall of sound.

"Dismal Woods Receive Me," is the longest track on the album.  The beginning is slow and dissonant. This evil vibe is soon replaced with riffs and drums that rip through, like winds pushing flames. After coming down from a speed trip, the guitars return darker and the drums ramp up the intensity. After the six minute mark, a quick energetic section with a punk vibe hits before the song slows down again.  "All Enveloping Black Harmony," has a biting guitar solo that is at odds with the music around it must sounds comfortable in the environment nonetheless. At the 5:48 mark, a barrage of drums kicks off what is the most intense passage on the album. The blackened vocals howl like a madman while the instruments bludgeon.

It may be rough around the edges but ARCANE MARROW's "The Elders Present To Me" is a startlingly journey into raw black metal.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 5

4 Star Rating

1. Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism
2. Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plain
3. Before the First Notion of God
4. The Elders Present to Me
5. The Dismal Woods Receive Me
6. All Enveloping Black Harmony
Record Label: Independent


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