Firefrost Arcanum

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Polish symphonic metal crew Vesania make their Western debut with 2004's Firefrost Arcanum, an album so hugely, unapologetically over the top that at first it almost sounds like a deadpan parody of symphonic black metal. The album is primarily comprised of epic-length swells of slashing orchestrations and droning guitar riffs over blastbeat drums, underneath a completely forgettable yowling singer. These alternate with brief, almost ambient interludes that serve as quick respites in between the onslaughts; unfortunately, these short, impressionistic pieces are actually a lot more musically interesting than the thud-and-screech that surrounds them. A more equitable balance of the two styles would make this a much richer and less tiring album.

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