There is a hotbed of metal excellence within Eastern Europe which though beginning to find a wider attention in recent times thanks to the internet as much as anything, it is still an area relatively unknown to far too many. It is a shame because some of the most innovative and impressive sounds and bands are to be found from this part of the world, of which another fine example comes in the shape of Arcana Imperia. The Russian trio are a powerful band full of invention and imagination as proven with their new album Новые миры (Novii Miri which if translations I have found are to go by means New Worlds). It shows the band make its own rules and forges its own directions within the melodic/symphonic death metal realm to leave nothing but full intrigue, pleasure and deep satisfaction in its wake.
From Moscow the band was formed in 2005 and started with a more melodic death metal sound. Despite many line-up changes the band continued to draw stronger attention and following within their country and surrounding areas with each release and live event. 2008 saw their debut album Hymns of Infinite Decay released as well as impressive live performances which included the Global East Open Air in 2009 headlined by Motorhead. The following year saw second album Better Than Now emerge to once more a great response. Another small line-up change occurred in the third quarter of 2011 following the release of the single Reality. The change brought bassist Ivan Dzyubinsky into the fold alongside guitarist Alex Arcana and vocalist Darvit. The year also marked the shift in direction seeing the band expand their melodic intent to explore more symphonic and black metal areas the result being the excellent sounds on Новые мирыas well as returning to their own language for the vocal future.
Released with the might of GlobMetal Productions behind it in a recent link up with the band, the album feels destined to find and light up further afield with its at times mesmeric and in other moments unsettling but always enthralling content. From the very first note one is drawn into the heart of the release. Opener Второе рождение (Vtoroe Rozhdenie… The Rebirth) is a stirring piano piece of controlled drama and stirring passion. It pulls in thoughts and emotions whilst inspiring a reticence to the whisper of unsettling intrigue within its beauty. That slight ominous air is soon realised with the storm of intensity which follows with Мегаломания (Megalomania). Whilst the synths offer a teasing melody to captivate within the maelstrom of power the track ruptures blood vessels with dehabilitating rhythms and ear buffering riffs. It is a raging power hungry brute with inspired variants within intent on playing with the senses.
It is a strong start which explodes with easily the best track on the album in 10 жизней (10 Zhiznei…10 Lives). The piece is a glorious piece of composing fusing mesmeric elegance and flaming spots of melody with a predatory bass presence and consuming intensity. As it progresses the guitars venture into dazzling sonic manipulations to wrong foot the senses which go into overload with the stunning wanton discord brought by the inspired strings. The track is unpredictable and ingenious, a perpetually evolving masterpiece of blistering and scorched imagination.
From its hellish triumph it is arguable whether the album manages to come close to that height again but with outstanding songs like the bulging orchestral hearted rock driven Дом тараканов (Dom Tarakanov …House Cockroaches), a song with a contagious breath which wraps itself around the senses like a magnetic glove and the shadow prowling Все лгут! (Vse Lguti… Everybody lies!), the album is a constant flow of unique ideas and bewitching creativity. So many albums no matter their quality offer up variations and reinventions of expectations in sound but that is something one cannot lay before the feet of Arcana Imperia, the band though not always as successfully in some parts as in others bringing a continual wealth of new and provocative incursions into originality.
Новые миры probably will still be an album which you will have to go looking for rather than it come into your view but we urge you do as it and Arcana Imperia make for a breathtaking and very gratifying time.
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