Arcana – Inner Pale Sun

After the excellent single ‘Body of Sin’, Arcana now is back with the album “Inner Pale Sun”, the follow-up to “The Last Embrace” (2000). In the meantime Peter Pettersson has been rather busy with his other succesful project Sophia. As we are used from Arcana, the album lasts rather short, but this is made up for by the high quality of the tracks. I’m really impressed by the clearity of the sound, a perfect production. In comparison to older works, the music seems to be a little more minimal, with less bells and choirs.

The first track, ‘My cold sea’, is an epic bombastic piece, with heavy drumming and lovely male and female chanting. ‘Forlorn’ is more tranquil, a nice atmospheric classical composition, with grave vocals by Pettersson and gentle strings and horns. Dramatic and romantic. ‘Icons’ starts with ‘oriental’ guitar sounds, soon enforced by bells and chimes and some heavy drums. Ritual chants add further to the sacred atmosphere. I’m reminded rather of Dead Can Dance, as is more often the case on this album. Of course I don’t have problems with that at all. Next is the now well-known song ‘We rise above’ (as featured on their previous single), already a classic.

It is followed by ‘Innocent child’, a track that could already be downloaded from the band’s website a few months ago. And I’m happy I did that, because it is of a stunning beauty. Very slow and introspective, consisting of not much more than a soft orchestral background and dramatic singing of Pettersson (“I wish I could give you something else”). It seems to have a very great emotional depth. Could it have something to do with the recent birth of Pettersson’s daughter? ‘Song of the dead sun’ is more percussion-based, an epic instrumental piece, which could easily be featured on the soundtrack of a Lord of the Rings film. Very lovely is the song ‘Season of thought’ especially though the celestial female vocals. With ‘Closure’ this impressive album gets a soft classical and worthy end.

In my opinion perhaps the strongest Arcana release so far! Ten very beautiful and varied songs, full of emotion.

artist: Arcana
label: Cold Meat Industry
details: 8 tracks, 38 minutes. cmi. 121