Words: Craig Hartranft
Hailing from Italy, a country known for its ongoing tradition of traditional heavy metal, is Arcanum XII with their debut album Evening Lights. Formed only a few short years ago, the band focused on developing melodic progressive metal with Rush, Dream Theater, Vanden Plas, King Crimson, et al, as influences.
Basically, Arcanum XII hits the mark with their progressive metal. Yet, this is not overly technical material. The song arrangements are lightly complex having the usual expectations for prog: tempo and time signature changes with an abundance of individual instrument contributions from each musician. By example, Every Day Is The Same Day mixes some tempos, yet also has playful interchange between guitar and keyboards, notably just after the midpoint. More of that sweet piano and guitar play is found in Inside Your Head. Before the midpoint the guitar rise again, piano comes a bit later, light and airy, and then followed once more by brisk riffs and sharp leads.
Alternatively, a song such as My God offers a strong symphonic start which rolls into a steady pace where the bass and drums are easily leading the way. Later, the last third, a strong guitar solo rises over both the symphonic keys and steady rhythm section. You get a more clear definition of the bass and drums in When A Man, after a smart guitar, at the five minute mark. The rhythm almost has a jazz feel. As for the vocals and vocal arrangements, Fabio Punchina is a sufficient metal singer who stays mostly melodic, avoids being screamo, and stays in range. Yet he does get a bit weird within the last track, Seven. Around the 4:30 mark he makes an attempt at dirty vocals. He basically sucks at it. Of greater interest is the old school keyboards that follow. Overall, Arcanum XII's Evening Lights is an adequate and entertainig first album of melodic progressive metal, offering the promise of greater things in the future.
Arcanum XII's Evening Lights is an adequate and entertainig first album of melodic progressive metal, offering the promise of greater things in the future.
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