ARCANA: As Bright as a Thousand Suns CD Cyclic Law
Opening with the chilling ‘Somnolence’, the opening glory of this piano led introduction is like an awakening from a long slumber, heralding the end of a four-year break album wise.
‘As the End Draws Near’ is next up with a multitude of acoustic guitars and male led vocals with soaring female background operatic harmonies; as usual these are perfectly produced and the end result is nothing short of glorious.
Track four ‘Medea’ is a solid favourite for me, the dual female vocal elements really shine here; multi-layered and understated they still manage to carry a majesty with the arcane and medieval percussion sitting low in the mix alongside the instrumentation.
Arcana have changed a lot over the years and once again this latest release is no exception. Peter Bjärgo and his cohorts seem to have lost that rough edge that reigned throughout previous early releases; don’t get me wrong there was always an essence of clarity and professionalism through all of their works, it’s just that later albums have had their cracks ironed out and run now like a well oiled machine.
In some respect there is a danger to this; the only negative I find is that as accomplished as this album is, you get the feeling this new opus has come to them almost as second nature. I applaud the writing and production skills, but Bjärgo and company could most likely have written this in their sleep; it may be time to concentrate on other past projects and let the likes of the wonderful Sophia rise once again from the ashes instead.
‘As Bright as a Thousand Suns’ is one of those great albums, solid as a whole in its entirety. There are a couple of stand out moments such as the aforementioned ‘Medea’ and the absolutely heart crushing ‘In Memoriam’, which without a doubt is as good as their previous greats; as good as these two numbers are and the album being professional to the core, this won’t be revered as an outright classic by their fan-base due to its generic nature.
A beautiful aural experience overall, with an exceptional production that ever so just misses the edge needed to make it something truly epic.