Arcana – The new light

Arcana releases are not very frequent, so this compilation with 11 rare and unreleased tracks is a welcome gift. “The new light” also gives a nice overview of the career and development of Arcana. It contains demo tracks all the way back from 1994, as well as recent material. The songs are accompanied by comments in the booklet about their period of creation. The green fold-out sleeve is really wonderful, with nicely fitting images of old stones and trees.

The album starts with the appropriate title ‘The opening’, created as an intro for live performances. This nice slow minimal piece with spoken words directly puts you in the right ethereal mood. ‘Remiscence’ recalls a typical Arcana sound, melancholic neo-classical music with a majestic effect. This is actually the first song ever recorded by Arcana. Then follow three demo tracks which founding member Peter Bjärgö used to interest Cold Meat Industry. ‘Source of light’, here present in a version without female vocals, was included on the debut album “Dark age of reason”. The other two tracks could have easily been used for the music. Very sacred/mystical, literally gothic music, reminding you of cathedrals and choirs, with clear Dead Can Dance influences.

One of my favourite pieces is the slow ‘Lament’, an unreleased demo from 1998. Very moving and serene. ‘Prophecy of the inevitable’ sounds more bombastic, with heavy percussion and dominant orchestral sounds. ‘Eclipse of the soul’, in an alternate version of the track from “The last embrace”, follows this orchestral line, with a strong focus on the choral elements. The subtle ‘Like statues in the garden of dreaming’ is more song-based, with slow strings building the melody and rather straightforward singing. ‘Through the grey horizon’ is a very emotional piece, a bit in the line of ‘Innocent child’ of the previous “Inner pale sun” album.

The last song, the new track ‘Wings of Gabriel’, is perhaps the most surprising one, since it hints at a new direction. In this track, which makes me think of GOR or later DCD, Arcana explores Arabic influences, which especially become sclear in the rhythms. This sounds promising, I’m curious in how far exotic elements will play a role on the forthcoming Arcana album “Le serpent rouge”.

This album, a joint release of Cyclic Law and Erebus Ordora, is very enjoyable. It is not just some Arcana rest material only interesting for die-hard fans, but a strong album in its own rights.

artist: Arcana
label: Cyclic Law
details: 11 tracks [10th cycle]