Polish pagan black metal outfit Arkona returns with a stellar record presenting their 7th studio album Age of Capricorn, after the highly acclaimed album Lunaris which was released through the French underground label Debemur Morti productions in 2016. Arkona gift their fans with another frostbitten album of the classic Northern black metal fury. During the past 23 years of stability the Polish quartet have chosen to adhere to old fashioned style of the second wave of black metal. This time the blackened horde of darkness made a few changes concerning the lineup of the band. Although three of the band members remained in their positions, the lineup includes Khorzon vocalist/guitarist and synth, Nechrist on guitars, Zaala on drums and Drac on bass and vocals.
Comparing Age of Capricorn to the band’s previous album Lunaris you can notice a slight differences in the vocals sound. The deep growling style on the new album is demonic and raspy which adds a quality to music. The spooky theme and muttering words on the first track Stellar Inferno creates a captivating sense of obscure music while the sound of the enthralling synth sweeps in. The raw and ferocious attack of the drums unleash powerful blast beats as the deep roaring growls thunders along the cold icy riffs. The concentration on creating a horror atmosphere initiates at full focus. Oscillating between the mid tempo and the hyper blast beats there are moments when the keyboards swell to forge a dark and freezing atmosphere.
Putting solid emphasizing on the aggressive and raw patterns of the second wave of black metal while expanding over the symphonic textures. The second track Alone Among Wolves is a blistering fast paced track which proves how Arkona can perform their music skillfully. Building of ferocity and mid tempo the drums apparently reverberates with hyper blast beats. Combining rich symphonic textures and heavy blazing riffs while striking at straight blast beats. Which fulfills the traditional style of the Polish black metal bands.
Between the maelstrom of the rhythm guitar and the lead guitar the focus is to create an obscure theme. On the previous album Arkona inflicted upon the wintery melodies and frostbitten riffs. The dark undertows of the synth which flows with the blackened riffs, adds the majesty and the splendor to the tracks. Age of Capricorn consist of six tracks with a total duration of 47 minutes. Moving to the album title track, Arkona weaves blistering riffs and the tremolo pickings which brings the majesty of the second wave of black metal. Imposing on Nordic melodies the album gradually reveal its majestic splendor.
The most beautiful work is the right use of synth which creates a spellbinding atmosphere. Age of Capricorn is a mystifying album, balanced between the ferocious tempos and the slow melodic parts. Its towering lead guitars and the melodic hooks are impressively crafted to attract the listener. Deathskull Mystherium has a faster and aggressive tone, the high velocity of the drums and tremolo pickings are efficiently crafted within the template of black metal. Brooding on haunting melodies as the track becomes centered on mid tempo the guitars shift towards slow and dusky rhythm.
Every track on the new album has its own unique proportion, Arkona on Age of Capricorn install different themes. While some tracks sound epic and melodic the fifth track Towards the Dark suddenly broods over the melancholic and dark atmosphere. The drums delivery on the album is robustly powerful bringing the needful dynamics to the songs. After spinning the album twice in a row I have formed a positive conclusion regarding the latest outcome from this band. Although nothing is original here the influence is mainly derived from the Scandinavian black metal bands of the 90’s era.
The consistent musicianship and the flow of the music shows how Arkona became experts in creating their own musical patterns. Growing darker and ferocious the final track Grand Manifest of Death continues to strike viciously. Albeit the horror ambience of the cinematic feel which quickly becomes intensified by the fast tempo of the drums. The guitars on the final track impose on the slow tempo where the dark rhythm sweeps into the song structure. Age of Capricorn is a majestic and captivating black metal album recommended for fans of melodic and symphonic black metal.
Release Date: December 13th, 2019
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
- Stellar Inferno
- Alone Among Wolves
- Age of Capricorn
- Deathskull Mystherium
- Towards the Dark
- Grand Manifest of Death