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Arckanum – The 11 Year Anniversary Album [Compilation]

arckanum – the 11 year anniversary album [compilation]


Arckanum shouldn’t be a new name for any of the Black Metal fans around the globe. This Swedish act is around for many, many years now. Seeing the title of this record, I guess the band is around for eleven years now. Though, band is not really the right word for Arckanum for it is solely run by Shamaatae, who was also in Grotesque (the band that is best known I guess), Absorption and Disinterment. When all these bands didn’t really achieved the goal they had in mind he found Arckanum. A raw Black Metal band that is all about the Chao-Gnosticism and not any heathen-pride propagandist or pagan glorifier. But I guess most black metal fans have already heard about them through their music, with a handful of demos, a few EPs and three full-length albums the chances are positive…

This all deserves some kind of a tribute, and that came in the form of this CD which can be seen mostly as an historical oversight. Starting off with two tracks from the very beginning, from 1992 when Arckanum was still a three-piece band with Sataros (for the purists known from Sataros Grief) and Loke Svarteld. In their own words they tried to achieve some of the best evil and harsh sounding trollish tunes, in which they arguably succeeded. The next three tracks are from the “Trulen” demo, I think that Shmaatae was already managing his band alone and these tracks are still pretty raw but lack the juvenile sound of the first two tracks (though they have its charm for they breathe the real underground spirit of the early nineties), that makes me recognize the real Arckanum sound for the first time. The fifth track is a song that is somewhat of an experiment. The original track appeared on the “Kostogher”-album in 1997, but what’s on this CD is the original mix that never appeared on the album in this form. The difference is that the vocals on this mix are, in his own words, ‘demonic high pitched’, but the experiment was thrown away and the vocals were re-recorded and put on tape the way we know it from the actual album. The sixth song has got something of a story attached to it. Shamaatae had an idea when he started to record album, he only wanted to release vinyl records and just a month prior of each LP release he planned to release a 7″ EP with one album track and one unreleased song. But somehow this didn’t get through due to Necropolis Records. And guess what, this song is such an unreleased song for the “Fran Marder”-album. The song was never mastered or mixes so the sound is pretty raw and harsh, but it is still quite a nice one to me. A funny thing to mention is that Sataros appears as a guest again too. The seventh track marks, in his own comments, the ‘new’ Arckanum for it symbolizes all that is Chao-Gnosticism about.

And while the official tracklist stops here we get a few bonus tracks. The track that appeared on the split 7″ with Contamino and the full “Boka Vm Kaos” 7″ EP. It may be clear that these tracks are still raw but have a better sound and especially the full 7″ EP is very much worth the listen. And last but not least there is a rare video track for the “Gava Fran Trulen”-track from 1994. All in all a great package that clocks around fifty minutes (excluding the video track, which is around six minutes) that gives a nice oversight from the past of this Swedish black metal act and there is still enough to gain for those who already have all of the regular releases. Owh, and for the real collectors, there is a CD version (limited to 3000 copies), an LP version (limited to 1000 copies) and a picture disc version (limited to only 200 copies), so see for yourself what version you’d like to get, if you’re still on time of course…