Marking 20 years since his first demo ARCKANUM mastermind Shamaatae has a lot to live up to with his 8th offering "Fenris Kindir". Boasting an impressive consistency, only taking a slight dip in quality on 2010's "Sviga Læ", the chaos-gnostic Swede has his claws deep in the throat of the underground.
The roughly sketched cover art of "Fenris Kindir" marks a return to the style of the fantastic "ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ". The muddy sound and thrashy riffs are all trademark ARCKANUM, with a generous use of samples and ambient distortion. Unlike "ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ", however, this time the actual songs seem to be lacking a certain focus. The melodies are all over the place, often taking a backseat to the noise and distortion. The weeping and shrieking strings from "Helvítismyrkr" are back, adding a twisted and melancholic atmosphere to the already chaotic assembly.
How people will rank this as an ARCKANUM-album depends on whether you prefer Shamaatae's noisy anarchic assault over his more coherent riff-based work. The Dark Ambient tracks tend to drag on for too long, overstaying their welcome instead of adding their intended atmospheric flavoring. On the plus side, ARCKANUM anno 2013 sounds as evil as ever. Shamaatae is growling, shouting, and gargling his throat sore while unleashing his barrage of anti-cosmic Black Metal. While not his best work, this is sure to approach the darkest depths Shamaatae has ever plunged.
Disjointed riffs, droning noise, and furious sonic assault all have their strong points, but "Fenris Kindir" never comes together as perfectly as some of its predecessors. The occasional flash of brilliance is there, yet as an ARCKANUM-release this album falls short of greatness.
(Online July 19, 2013)