Thursday, January 3, 2013


Arcana - Dark Age of Reason
Cold Meat Industry, 1996
Genre: Ambient

1. Our God Weeps
2. Angel of Sorrow
3. Source of Light
4. The Calm Before the Storm
5. Dark Age of Reason
6. Like Statues in the Garden of Dreaming
7. The Oath
8. ...for My Love
9. Serenity
10. The Song of Mourning

This is a great group out of Sweden and they play such majestic ambient music.  It’s dark, somber and great to relax to.  This is right up there with Mortiis.  The thing I like best about this is that it's more varied, but the only problem is its too damn short.  It’s only just over a half long.  Whereas Mortiis’ albums are almost a full hour.  His only problem is, is that his songs are less varied, with there only being two songs on most of his albums.  Finally he’s getting out of that mold and putting ten songs on an album, like Arcana here.  This is a great ambient album one of the best I’ve ever heard.

Arcana differs from the likes of Mortiis quite a bit, because Mortiis uses long droning and entrancing songs, Arcana use well composed songs, each track taking on a different feel and it is not nearly as much of a droning or meditative feel.  Arcana also have a distinctly medieval feel to their compositions as well.  This gives their compositions a bit more of an ethnic feel than other Dark Ambient groups would, where others focus on the strings setting of a keyboard for example.  You can see these themes present throughout the imagery on “Dark Age of Reason” with its wonderful packaging.  I think this is a major point that sets Arcana on a separate stage from their label mates, as well as others in the Ethereal/Dark Wave genre.

The atmosphere of Arcana is dark, but somewhat romantic as you can hear in the song “Angel of Sorrow.”  While still a dark song, it has a very romantic feel, which is merely amplified by the lyrics when you read them.  Yes, there are lyrics and they are sung with the beautiful voice of Ida Bengtsson.  I think the most notable reference of “Dark Age of Reason” would be that it could be termed as being similar to Autumn Tears, who also released their debut in this year.  Not all the tracks have vocals on them, nor do all tracks have lyrics.  Some lyrics are sung by Peter Pettersson and normally male vocals would bother me, except I’ve discovered there is one way that I do actually enjoy a male vocal performance and that is if it is chanted more than sung.  Peter chants his lyrics predominantly, probably keeping in mind the medieval concept, thus I find his vocal performances quite enjoyable and fitting.  Another way that I do not mind a male vocal performance if used for whispers in the background for even darker atmospheres.  Anyway, coupled with that of Ida’s vocal performance, overall we have for a wonderful experience!

In the end this appears to be one of the earlier groups for the Ambient realms and already they branch off into something very different from where other groups would follow.  I found “Dark Age of Reason” to be a highly unique release, as well as beautiful, dark, and relaxing all at the same time.  You can easily lose yourself in the beautiful medieval realms that Arcana paint for you.

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