Arcana
Inner Pale Sun


4.0
excellent

Review

by username345 USER (52 Reviews)
August 4th, 2008 | 17 replies | 2,791 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A bit of a Dead Can Dance clone, but a good Dead Can Dance clone. Very atmospheric dark ambient/neoclassical music, with influences from medieval music.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Dead Can Dance is commonly considered to be the best band in whatever genre they are pigeonholed into with their unique atmospheric sound and influences from gothic rock, dark ambient, neoclassical music, medieval music and in their later albums, world music.

With ‘Inner Pale Sun’, Swedish band Arcana threaten to take Dead Can Dance’s throne. While they can easily be criticised for being a complete rip-off of Dead Can Dance, focusing on the neoclassical and dark ambient elements of Dead Can Dance’s earlier medieval influenced albums ‘Spleen & Ideal’ and ‘Within the Realm of a Dying Sun’, Arcana are so good at it that the lack of originality becomes very easy to ignore.

Like Dead Can Dance, the sound here mixes old with new using an assortment of modern and obscure instruments. Strings, occasionally supported by drums, provide the backing as chimes, bells, guitars, dulcimers and all sorts of obscure instruments play sparse and usually quite simple melodies. While this formula is simple, it always works very well. The melodies are always incredibly atmospheric and beautiful, bringing to mind thoughts of the medieval world the music is influenced by. With it’s hypnotic melodies, timpani echoing in the background, rolling drums and sweeping strings, Arcana manages here to create an impressively haunting and dark and sound with a genuine medieval atmosphere.

Where Arcana separates from Dead Can Dance is the vocals. While Dead Can Dance’s music is dominated by Lisa Gerrard’s unearthly, ethereal soaring vocals and Brendan Perry’s more grounded yet still powerful Jim Morrisonesque singing, most of the music on ‘Inner Pale Sun’ is instrumental.

Most of the time when vocals do come in they are chanted simply to enhance the albums. Vocalist Peter Petterson, who amazingly plays nearly all of the instruments actually sounds slightly like Brendan Perry, but slightly lower pitched. It’s not that noticeable though, especially as he only sings on a few tracks or just does chants. The singing is decent but not as strong as that on Dead Can Dance, which is probably one of the reasons it’s used only to enhance the atmosphere. Occasionally he is supported by female backing vocals provided by Ann-Mari Thim, though these vocals are only ever chanted. The lyrics aren’t as impressive as the music and are often quite simple, but fit the dark themes fine.

While ‘Inner Pale Sun’ is fantastic if you are in the right mood to lose yourself in it’s dark atmosphere, the slight lack of variety could get dull if you are not. Dead Can Dance manage to balance the atmosphere and ‘pop’ in their music well with short catchy songs by Brendan Perry and longer, more meandering Lisa Gerrard songs, while Arcana seem to focus much more on the atmosphere, so it becomes less gripping than much of Dead Can Dance’s work. While the melodies are all very strong they sometimes lack a certain catchiness that would help the album remain interesting for much longer. As the album is only 38 minutes long though, this doesn’t become much of a problem.

So has Arcana managed to snatch Dead Can Dance’s crown with ‘Inner Pale Sun’? Not quite, but they are certainly good enough for any Dead Can Dance fan, or any fan of atmospheric music, to enjoy.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
username345
August 4th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ehhh this is pretty short... I'll try to add to it later.

fireaboveicebelow
August 4th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

their later stuff has less of a DCD influence just sayin but yeah good review you don't need to edit it. I'm glad to see this band reviewed

username345
August 4th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just did, I missed a bit out by accident.

fireaboveicebelow
August 4th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ah, well have you heard the next two albums?

username345
August 4th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm actually listening to 'Le Serpent Rouge' for the first time now. I like the Eastern sound but I don't think it's as good as IPS. I've not heard anything else by them though.

Zoo
August 4th 2008



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

LSR is excellent. I've downloaded this but haven't listened to it yet.

I've wanted to look into DCD for a while. Which Dead Can Dance album(s) is/are close to the overall neoclassical/darkwave sound such as those found on Arcana releases?

username345
August 4th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is pretty close to DCD's 'Spleen & Ideal' and 'Within the Realm of a Dying Sun'. Le Serpent Rouge isn't as DCD like, but best compared to one of their later world-influenced albums like 'Into the Labyrinth'.

fireaboveicebelow
July 23rd 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

first track never fails to amaze me

BallsToTheWall
July 23rd 2009



44164 Comments


I thik I enjoy Nox Arcana more because of their festive themes like ghost pirates, vampires, and a haunted psycho ward. I'll check this out however.

fireaboveicebelow
July 23rd 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

funny you mention them I just got Necronomicon and Shadow Of The Raven

BallsToTheWall
July 23rd 2009



44164 Comments


My favorite one is the Vampire one. Which I should review before halloween, or Midnight Syndicate. I need their new "House On The Haunted Hill' themed one.

fireaboveicebelow
July 23rd 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

before halloween? you know it'll take an hour at most right?

but we should take back the initiative and get back into darkwave/ambient/classical reviews

BallsToTheWall
July 23rd 2009



44164 Comments


Reviewing dark ambient is a bitch to write about. No guitars, etc. But I need time to develop a sinister opening plot where sputnik characters are metaphorically killed off and dragged into the dark realm of the undead.

fireaboveicebelow
July 23rd 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

maybe when you do that with Nox Arcana reviews you can readapt the plot of your tale to fit the theme of each album

BallsToTheWall
July 23rd 2009



44164 Comments


Yes. Yes. It will be like story telling with ballsToTheWall. Different stories with different characters. It should be elaborate, pretenious, and epic as peanut butter fudge.

fireaboveicebelow
July 23rd 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

grim, get to work

CosmicPie
September 4th 2013



1076 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Was this a review of Arcana or Dead Can Dance? DCD are pioneers for sure, but constantly mentioning them is like comparing Black Sabbath to every Doom Metal album reviewed. All genres had their beginning.
Arcana are doing there own thing with this genre.



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