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ARNA - Dragged to a Lunar Grave

Dragged to a Lunar Grave
by Ben Gardiner at 24 August 2021, 10:20 PM

Done your Corpse paint and longest silver spikes, because this record boasts raw traditional atmospheric Black Metal. Despite hailing from Spain, ARNA carry with them all the chilly bleakness of the Nordic frost, and the sound of snowy, tree covered mountains drip from the raw tremolo guitar riffs and blasting drums. ARNA’S greatest advantage over the traditional Black Metal bands is its quality of production, they give their songs a unique, toned down atmospheric sound without sacrificing the legibility of the instruments, nor the sound quality.

The opening treats us with two minutes of distant orchestral singing, before the angelic veil is lifted and the darker intention of the music comes out, in the form of an excellent drum-fill-into-earth-shattering-blastbeats. Drummer does well to break up the monotony of blasts with nicely placed accents and have a great natural sound for programmed drums. Layered vocal sections with slowed, sweeping guitar riffs add variety to the pacing and emotion of the song.

Moonknife” is equally as relentless and raw, but with buckets more emotion and intention in its instrumentation and vocals. If “Gallows Tree” is the song equivalent of a baby bird taking the leap of faith off a tree for the first time, this song is ARNA at its swooping gracefully through the wind. I love the sections in which the snare hits with every guitar note, adds technicality and progression amidst the second wave Black Metal.

Dolmen” is a dark and mystical delve into the heaviest corners of music, the vocals are harsh, guttural, almost painful sounding, and the music is powerful and dense. They maintain high energy throughout the song but never once lose the dark otherworldly atmosphere, ending the song with a taste of BATHORY’s Viking era.

The final track is an expulsion of everything the band has to offer, in a perfect conclusion, ARNA utilize blast beats, tremolo guitars, sweeping soundscapes, inciting Odin’s wrath to create brutal sections one minute, before delving into a sea of sonic emotion the next.

"Dragged To A Lunar Grave" traps layers of mysticism and atmosphere, as well as three decades of Raw Black Metal into a four song rollercoaster that’s a dream for fans of Black Metal in all its forms. From GORGOROTH to DEAFHEAVEN, there’s something for everyone here.

The production is great for the desired purpose and the mix is flawless, the guitars blending with the drums like a water painting. The only thing I am missing is more music.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Gallows Tree
2. Moonknife
3. Dolmen
4. Aunra
Sanguinous Moth - All instruments
Morthalion - Vocals
Record Label: Signal Rex


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