Arckanum is a very old Swedish black metal band with its roots back in 1992. It is the personal project of Shamaatae who composes everything, sings and plays all instruments. He was very productive until 1998 and Arckanum became a “cult” name in the underground circles. Their first 3 albums “Fran Marder” 1995, “Kostogher” 1997 and “Kampen” 1998 were soon sold out and they hit prices over 100$ each in ebay! After 1998 and for 10 years the band released only EPs and split albums, but in 2008 they returned with their fourth full-length “Antikosmos” and now they are back for good with “ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ”.
The closest term to describe Arckanum’s music is pagan black metal, but since Shamaatae has different beliefs than paganism (he is Chaos-Gnostic Satanist) the term pagan shouldn’t be used. This album is a dedication to the Old Norse giant Þjazi and winter legends of that time. The eleven songs of this album (equal to the 11 underworld rivers) start with the letter Þ and added all together give the album title “ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ”. The first noticeable change in this album is the very powerful production and the sharpest sound of the guitars. This is by far the best production the band ever had. Arckanum offer us old school black metal with simple song structures and riffs that stick in your mind. The natural sound of the guitars dominates their music and compositions balance between rhythmic and more melodic parts, all based totally on the guitar riffs. Shamaatae’s characteristic vocals are screaming the lyrics in ancient Swedish language, completing the raw power of this album. The songs move from mid to fast tempo with cold esoteric melodies and a few dark ambient experimental parts.
For me “ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ” is the best Arckanum album for many years now. I can’t compare it though with the 3 first albums, especially with my favorite “Kampen”, basically due to emotional connection. The album is released in a digipak with a dark charcoal painting (probably depicting Þjazi) and the band logo embossed in the front cover. You can check their Facebook page for samples.
Arckanum @ Facebook
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos