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Arcane Sun – Arcane Sun (Reissue)

Arcane Sun
Arcane Sun (Reissue)
by Ben Gardiner at 24 August 2021, 10:22 PM

First released in 1998, the self-titled album by ARCANE SUN is a masterful delve into a variety of styles and sounds, blending Death Metal, Thrash and Doom. Incorporating older material with the new, the album is a splintered collection of aggressive, defeated lullabies.

The instrumentation is deceptively simple, its captivating without being technical, somehow sounding familiar but also brand new. Lots of creative decisions create an air of mysticism in sections, building to an interesting atmosphere that sets it apart to similar Death Metal from the Nineties.

From track one the diversity of Paul Kearns’ vocals is immediately interesting, ranging from Death Metal growls to deep, soulful singing, a unique timbre, not common for the musical setting, marking the individuality of this release. This beautiful clean singing carries onto the second track, where the vocalist also dips his toes into more Black Metal growls and whispered sections. “I Was Alive Then….” also boasts a energetic Death Metal driven drum track, with sweeping, near-tremolo guitars. “Sundrenched” brings the aggression with an accelerated thrashy intro, vocals cross a huge range from Black Metal screams to the most operatic vocals seen so far, the massive contrasts in pacing and heaviness, and altogether lack of smooth transitions make the song feel disjointed.

The ever-evolving nature of the album calls for melancholy piano arrangement “We Stood With Time.” It is as enjoyable as it is out of place, transporting you away from the dark gritty Death Metal to a light, fluffy cloud of twinkling piano and distant singing. A liminal space in the album giving you time to absorb what you’ve heard and marks the ending of the more extreme Death and Blackened songs. it’s a sonic detox before the heavy hitting “Your Name” in all its Blackened Doom harshness. “Longing For Eden’s Rain” delves into a psychedelic direction, with reverb drenched guitar solos and half-time drum sections. It moves away from the aggression but maintains all the energy and is one of my favourite tracks on the album.

The finale of the album, keeping up the running theme of continuous surprises, is a progressive treasure trove of interesting sections, far distanced from anything heard previously on the album. I get the impression that if you heard most of the songs separately, you’d never place them as being in the same album, but when listened to as a whole, it’s a unique, engaging hidden gem from a time of musical saturation.

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  6

3 Star Rating

1. Canto I (The Search)
2. I Was Alive Then….
3. Sundrenched (Beneath The Very Skies We Sought)
4. Avatar
5. We Stood With Time
6. Your Name
7. Canto II (Arrival, And Submergence)
8. And The Waters Were Like Wine.
9. Longing For Eden’s Rain (And Winters End)
10. Promised (So Many Years Have Passed)
11. Endure
Paul Kearns - Vocals
Feargal Flannery - Guitars/Bass/Keyboards
Mark Higgins – Drums
Record Label: Sentinel Records


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