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Arcanum XII - Evening Lights

Arcanum XII
Evening Lights
by Andrew Sifari at 15 May 2016, 7:37 PM

It’s a pretty sweet time to be a fan of technical and/or Progressive Metal. There seems to be no shortage of quality talent and creativity across the globe, to the extent that one can find music to fit just about any mood or feeling that strikes them. In the realm of layered, symphonic Prog Metal dwell Italian act ARCANUM XII, a band whose sense of the theatric is matched only by their strong melodic sensibilities, on their debut release, “Evening Lights.”

Whether you’re a ‘Prog Snob’ or not, I think most people expect a degree of melodicism that just naturally comes from the pre-requisite informed musicality of the style. That said, the emotive soloing, dancing keyboards, and fleet-fingered guitar histrionics the band employ are still exemplary. It’s the sword the band live and die by, and while they don’t always hit the mark, the results are generally enjoyable. Following a short intro, the opening number, “Why”, blends swirling keys with a bevy of sharp-edged riffs throughout. It does a good job transitioning between different textures and moods while staying on the same main theme. “Inside Your Head” has some neat, spacy vibes and a flair for the dramatic, mixing in some aggressive double kick-drums for maximum impact. “My God” is another powerful offering that uses Mirco Mandruzzato’s talents to full effect, creating a shimmering, majestic ambiance that accompanies the rest of the band like a cloak of swirling darkness.

Of course, the band that lives by the sword, tends to die by the sword, and there is, at least in my opinion, a bit of a fatigue factor involved with the heavy use of keyboards if you aren’t an avid fan of the instrument. That’s not to say that Mandruzzato’s instrument ought not to be prominent in the band’s sound, but it definitely feels like the material here drags on a little bit because it’s so keyboard heavy, often emulating the riffs like a second guitar. When you have six songs at about 7-8 minutes in length each, it can be a little tiring. Of course, the often keyboard is used very tastefully, and band are usually doing more than just more than just melodic keyboard runs, anyway, so there’s still plenty to enjoy on the whole.

While casual fans might not have the patience for it, “Evening Lights” is nevertheless a solid album for fans of Progressive Metal, chock-full of powerful melodies and dramatic presence.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Why
3. Inside Your Head
4. Every Day Is the Same Day
5. My God
6. When a Man
7. Seven
Fabio Punchina - Vocals
Fabio Ingegneri - Guitar
Francesco Bellan - Bass
Mattia Piva - Drums
Mirco Mandruzzato - Keyboards
Record Label: Underground Symphony


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