Review by Krys on May 31, 2003.
When I received this album from Nergal (Behemoth) my first thoughts were "fantastic, new death metal band from Poland," imagine my surprise when with first notes of 'Mystherion. Crystaleyes' ferocious black metal invaded my ears. And before I continue with this review let me set the record straight, I lost interest in black metal quite some time ago when most of the bands released dreadful produced, monotonous and simply put - boring releases. What does it have to do with "Firefrost Arcanum?" This album is so good that so far it's definitely my debut of the year and thanks to bands like Vesania this forgotten genre can make a come back to its glorious days.
First thing I've noticed right off the mark is the stand out production. From a well-designed booklet and thought out photo session to thick sound, that happens to incorporate an underground and live sound features, Vesania successfully connects with old school black metal traditions but with much higher quality. With full of bottom guitars, clear sounding drums, not overused keyboards and sadistic vocal screams "Firefrost Arcanum" is a pleasure to listen.
And the music itself? "Firefrost Arcanum" has everything I'm looking for in black metal release; fear, aggression, anger, tension; items that should intrigue and give a feeling of something unique and utterly special. Vesania successfully incorporates all those ingredients, wrapping it up around interesting arrangements and giving this genre a breath of fresh air. Haunting intros, ancient monologues, sounds of the battles, burning fire and screams of dying souls makes "Firefrost Arcanum" a unforgettable experience. This album doesn't have a favorite song; it needs to be listened as a whole and treated as one because every instrument and even notes are used to their potential and not overused. Last time I've heard something that good was during the good old Emperor days.
Which brings me to the main hiccup of this record, at times Vesania sound too much like old Emperor. Is it good or bad, you decide but "Firefrost Arcanum" stands heads and shoulders above most of what this genre has to offer today and there's no doubt in my mind that they can only get better and with time create their own, more unique sound. On the other hand Emperor is no more, so who said Vesania can't take their place?
Bottom Line: Saying I'm looking forward to their growth would be an understatement. Thanks to Vesania black metal returned to my house and it's here to stay.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8 out of 10