Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Arcana 13 - "Danza Macabra" (Album Review)

By: Doza Hawes

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 11/03/2016
Label: Aural Music



This album is all about the groove, mixing swampy simplicity with killer vocal hooks. The production is modern and clear, but without sounding overproduced. The guitars are nicely fuzzed out, the bass is growling, and the drums sound crisp and natural.  Creepy keyboards and psychedelic sound effects weave in the background, tying the album together and never letting you forget that these are songs inspired by one thing:  horror.  Overall I would go so far as to say “Danza Macabra” is a contender for the Sludgelord list of top Doom releases of 2016

“Danza Macabra” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Dread Ritual
2. Arcane XIII
3. Land of Revenge
4. Oblivion Mushroom
5. Intermezzo (Bonus track for limited vinyl)
6. Suspiria (Goblin cover)
7. Blackmaster
8. The Holy Cult of Suicide
9. Hell Behind You

The Review:

When I heard about a new band from Italy that were inspired by classic Horror films and featured a Goblin cover on their debut album, I expected to hear creepy, all-instrumental progressive rock with insane technical wizardry, influenced by bands like classic Yes and King Crimson. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Instead, I got what could be a contender for the Sludgelord list of top Doom releases of 2016. Instead of proggy technical instrumentation, Arcana 13 delivers crushing riffs. Instead of the mind-bending arrangements and bizarre time signatures that we usually get with prog rock, Arcana 13 keeps it simple and brings us a classic Occult Doom album that is masterfully put together.

Titled “Danza Macabra”, the album is inspired by legendary horror classics by Dario Argento and Mario Bava (among others), such as “Inferno”, “Suspiria”, and “Mask of Satan”. Sealing the deal, they enlisted classic horror poster artist Enzo Sciotti to paint the album cover, of which he commented, “This is my masterpiece…perhaps the best horror ever!” It is truly a beautiful album cover.

What is interesting about this album is that, while paying tribute to the classic Doom masters such as Sabbath and Pentagram, the band have clearly been doing their homework and staying in touch with what is current in the Doom scene. I hear tributes to bands like Ghost, Sleep, Witchcraft, and Church of Misery, but without sounding like overt plagiarism, more like love and respect for these great bands. The vocals are clean with some fantastic harmonies; the only screaming you’ll hear is from the various horror movie samples that meander throughout the songs. The production is modern and clear, but without sounding overproduced. The guitars are nicely fuzzed out, the bass is growling, and the drums sound crisp and natural.  Creepy keyboards and psychedelic sound effects weave in the background, tying the album together and never letting you forget that these are songs inspired by one thing:  horror.

Their cover of Goblin’s Suspiria theme is a super cool rendition, taking the song in a groovy hard rock direction that is sure to make your head nod. If you’re looking for insane double bass blasts or technical guitar shred, you won’t get that here. This album is all about the groove, mixing swampy simplicity with killer vocal hooks. “Danza Macabra” is a great rock album, a great Doom album, and its infused with the band’s clear love for classic horror. Give Arcana 13 a listen and turn it way up. You might want to pick up one of their limited edition red blood spatter vinyls, if they haven’t already sold them all!



Danza Macabra” is available here


Band info: bandcamp

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