This is the second album from the symphonic extreme metal band from Russia, after its debut “Mysteries of the Ancient Charnel” in 2006. The band was formed in 2001 and has been into many line-up changes all these years. Actually, after “Arya Marga” this year, 4 band members were fired (most of them were also on the first album) and now only two of them (Demether and Natalie, both vocalists!) are left in the band…
Anyway, I guess these problems are for them to solve. Coming to the music now, the album is very good and improved a lot since their debut. They play symphonic extreme metal, with a gothic atmosphere and black metal screaming vocals combined with operatic female ones… Well, this mixture isn’t unusual these days, but Arcane Grail do it their personal way and with a powerful and crystal clear sound. Except for the keyboards and piano performed by Anastasia, there are also many guest musicians in cello, viola and violin, enriching the band’s sound with physical instruments. Of course the typical metal instruments are still dominant, but they are accompanied and completed by a thick “natural” symphonic layer.
“Arya Marga” is a concept album that contains nine songs dealing with the ways and actions that lead men to enlightenment, like a contemporary version of Buddhism and Nirvana. The band members though clearly state they are not Buddhists, but they are affected by ancient beliefs and principles. So the general concept of the album can be seen as a rebellion against modern times and a return to diachronic values. Their music is very bombastic and majestic. There are some slower and more melodic parts, where Natalie sings operatic and then the screaming black metal vocals and blasting guitars enter. They use different kinds of growls (some of them by Natalie!!) in a dialogue between them and with the female vocals. This works perfectly, resulting in a powerful, emotional and very variable album. They move from gothic metal to black/death metal, power metal, classical music and opera, combined with mastery in their compositions, so that the album remains very tight and solid.
Arcane Grail have released a really good album that most fans of the genre will appreciate. All “Arya Marga” songs have something different to offer with many innovative melodies and they are very professionally produced and orchestrated. Also, unlike most Russian bands, their lyrics are in English except for a few parts. The album is released again by Musica Productions (like their debut) with a beautiful 20-page booklet, but I don’t know how good distribution they will get. In any case you can visit their official pages for more info and music.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos