|Poema Arcanus - Telluric Manifesto
17 November 2005
06. 51% Dead
07. Promised Light
08. Stone And Magma
If there's one band that will always surprise me with every album, it is Poema Arcanus. Three years we had to wait for the release of "The Teluric Manifesto" and although I was already expecting something different than the beautiful and ceremonial "Iconoclast" (2002), I would have never thought that these guys would come up with such an experimental piece.
One of the first things I noticed is that "The Teluric Manifesto" is an incredibly hard to digest and genre-transgressing disc and I needed lots of listens to build a relatively objective impression of the album. If Poema Arcanus labelled themselves in the past as "Dark Progressive Arcane Metal" (which was pretty accurate at that time, especially "Arcane" instead of "Doom"), now that definition is absolutely obsolete, because although the base is still an underdeveloped and drowned Doom Metal, the band flirts with lots of inspirations from Gothic Rock or even Jazz. The song writing is absolutely free-style, we don't see a clear structure and there can be so much difference between the parts of the same song that it's difficult to realize when a track ends to let another one start. Mental work is required of the listener to make a picture of this whole machine and its different gearings. You won't find here anything even remotely similar to a chorus, a main riff or a constant drum line and vocalist Claudio Carrasco takes absolute liberty to change from growling to clean voice and vice versa. Still, what seems to be dreadfully confusing at first, turns rather coherent when you get accustomed to it, and so the disc grows a lot and shows itself with time.
Another thing that surprised me a lot in "The Teluric Manifesto" is the fact that any kind of emotion or dark feeling seems to have been purposefully erased, giving as a result a stone cold album in which sensations just don't exist. This is music and only music. It's well played, touching the edges of cacophony and with an incredibly nihilistic and heavy overall atmosphere, like the soundtrack to a world where emotions are not meant to dwell. This can be kind of shocking, especially from a band that had made thrilling stuff before, but it's paradoxically one of its brightest elements - this album is just like a dead, distant star which embraces you with its light but without ever touching you with its heat.
Even though "The Teluric Manifesto" is the Poema Arcanus album that I would rate with the lowest grade, it was not a disappointment and I see it as a progression. It is a daring, different effort and the result is a highly original album that you can like or not, but marks a standing point over which one of my most respected bands can explore awesome new landscapes. There are things left to improve, especially in terms of song-structure, but Poema Arcanus can come back with big stuff in some years if they keep walking their newfound path.
written by southern wind | 01.01.2006
Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.