Oct 28, 2011

Poema Arcanus – Iconoclast ...

When one thinks of Doom/Death, they often think of Europe, specifically England and the ‘Peaceville Three’, not many would think of South America as a potential hotbed for the slow and brooding sounds of depression.

This album/band however, will change your perception. On Iconoclast we hear deep, passionate and beautiful Doom/Death Metal played with an air of professionalism, passion and originality such as its never been played before. Poema Arcanus started life as a Death/Thrash band that over the course of a few years got slower and slower.

This is a monstrously heavy, while seductively melodic piece of music that will leave you breathless. The guitars are incredibly busy the entire recording. Never will you hear so much from a band with only one guitarist in the Doom field. He constantly shifts from crunching distorted riffs, to clean somewhat prog-ish interludes, and back again.

The contrast of crunch to open, from distorted to clean is ambitious at best, but this band pulls it off seamlessly. Lots of effects are tastefully utilized here. The atmosphere that he creates by himself is awe-inspiring to say the least. There are plenty of leads but no solos unlike the bands prior album.

The bass goes from clean to distorted and back again, matching the guitar and is typically the one instrument that never quiets. The distorted parts almost sound like a really heavy guitar. The keyboards, while not overtly intricate, do help to add subtle atmosphere where it would have been lost otherwise. The drums are more or less standard for the style, but they keep it interesting throughout the recording. The vocals are another area that stands out. They go from a deep baritone croon to intense guttural growls and shrieks. This album (as opposed to their prior release) has more clean vocals in it, but it works. (Also the songs are sung primarily in English but there are two tracks in Chilean.)

Not all is sunshine and lollipops however. The energy and attitude are there but about half of the album is bland and generally boring. The songs don’t really go anywhere, as if they weren’t fully flushed out. More work should’ve been done to add balance and cohesion to the album as a whole. The end result is this: the production is good and the professionalism of the band shows throughout. The drawback would be that it tends to get boring towards the halfway point of the CD. Other than that, this is still a good album and a great starting point for someone new to this band. This gets a 5.5/10.

Words: Grimdoom

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