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Praecantator - Arcane Sceptre

Arcane Sceptre
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 April 2018, 6:03 AM

Black Metal is a genre that is both rich in tradition, and greatly diverse as of late. Purists seem to prefer the sounds of the first two waves. Although there hasn’t officially been a “third wave” labeled, I believe there is more than enough evidence to suggest that we are in the middle of this third wave, where the genre boundaries are very expansive. Black Metal newcomers PRAECANTATOR is a quartet formed in 2016, and based out of Southeast England. “Arcane Sceptre” is the band’s debut EP, and contains five tracks.

The opening waves of “Arcane Sceptre” are indeed very traditional. The guitars, bass and drums keep a constant presence in a field of purposefully muted production and shrieking vocals. But there is more than meets the eye as well. The song pauses a few times in a slower riff with some ambient elements of doom. “The Summoning…” is about the same length. The chord progressions are pure evil personified in music, creating a dangerous and harrowing sound. Throughout the experience you feel a chill on the back of your neck and cannot shake the feeling that you are being followed. The faster you run, the closer it comes to you. The ending however forays into gloom and despondence.

“Macrocosm” is a short instrumental that does a nice job of tying the EP together as a whole. Sprigs of light and hope are present, like the clouds parting to show rays of sun, but they soon close in the coming of “In the Winter’s Shadow.” This seven-minute beast is vile and reprehensible. The vocal chants are haunting in their delivery, seeming to come from black clothed figures that have no face. I would say the short guitar solo is something out of the ordinary for the genre, but works very well with the overall sound of the song. A shifting passage takes the song to completion with a hypnotic riff that seems to surround you.

“Praecantator” closes the EP. “Praecantator” is Latin for the word “wizard” in English. The hearty and somewhat ominous opening riff definitely gives you a feeling of the supernatural. The meter is a bit of a shapeshifter which is also fairly uncommon in the genre, displaying some musicianship that is often missing as well. The dual vocal commands at the end are truly tormenting, and sound like they could be used in a summoning ritual…a great ending to the song. Overall, despite its relatively short length, there is a lot to love about this debut EP from PRAECANTATOR. They have carefully crafted an EP that is steep in the tradition of the early days of Black Metal, but are also not afraid of treading off the beaten path to usher in some new life in the genre.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Arcane Sceptre
2. The Summoning…
3. Macrocosm
4. In the Winter’s Shadow
5. Praecantator
Dayolith – Bass, Vocals
Normakk – Guitars
Namurtus – Guitars
Biaal – Drums
Record Label: M.S.H. Music Group


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