The Arcane Order - Cult of None - (8/10)
Published on September 12, 2015
Danish The Arcane Order already had two widely acclaimed albums under their belt, with 2006’s The Machinery of Oblivion and 2008’s In the Wake of Collisions, but then pretty much fell into a black hole, disappearing for six years until they resurfaced with a demo in 2014, just to finally arrive at their third long-player Cult of None, out via Massacre Records. While being heralded as death/thrash metal, The Arcane Order is more than just a mere amalgamation of two bordering genres, they go deeper. Way deeper.
The fact alone that seven of the eight songs contained are over seven minutes long and opener “Reviver” scratches the 10-minute mark should be an indicator that this quintet is not your average deathhead command that will move in, devastate everything in sight and then retreat as quickly as it had appeared. Instead the Danes manage to build up an atmospheric element that goes hand in hand with their arsenal of riffs and while these two factors usually are exclusive, the fact that they make them work side by side, is remarkable in its own.
“Reviver” sets out with an atmospheric intro that gives way to frenetic double-bass and tight riffing without losing the atmosphere, but what also sets them apart from the bloodthirsty mob that is their genre mix is that they constantly morph between rhythms and speeds without losing the thin red line that threads through the song to keep everything on track. Kasper Thomsen’s death metal screams are the sandpaper above the impressive machinery that makes up the body of the song, which has the incredibly versatile drum foundation courtesy of Morten Løwe Sørensen that weaves in and out of even the complex patterns with frightening ease, while Flemming Lund and Kasper Kirkegaard erect a mighty wall of riffs on top, but with all that there still is space for a slow, brooding and atmospheric instrumental passage that as strange as it seems, fits perfectly.
Cult of None also is living proof how much heaviness can be generated without having to resort to blastbeats (even though they still have plenty of those), but through brooding atmosphere and double-bass. “Ahab” captures the oppressive nature of the wild sea perfectly, whereas “Void Maker” exudes heaviness, which is garnished with the surprisingly very melodic chorus. So one-dimensionalism is most definitely not a problem for The Arcane Order. On the other hand the sheer intensity of their songs could pose a problem for some listeners, because there is a lot going on on this album, the dynamics created in the process are nothing short of mind-boggling, though.
The Arcane Order has not missed a beat during their hiatus, but Cult of None seamlessly picks up where In the Wake of Collisions had left off, with constantly changing tempos, patterns and intensities, taking the listener on some of the most intense 58 minutes you will find this year. A crushing monolith of death/thrash metal laced with intense atmosphere and melodies that’ll leave you breathless!