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Arya Marga is a second album from this Russian metal act, with a strong concept, sung in three different languages: Russian, German and English (which doesn´t mean the lyrics any easier to understand, but who says that gothic metal should be easy and accessible?!) Russian metal scene is quite strongly influenced by the heavy scene of its western neighbours, so there´s a good amount of death metal interspersed with symphonic metal and female skilled opera vocals. If Nightwish was bordering its style with power metal, Arcane Grail is constantly slipping into black metal, with all its classics – speedy guitars and aching throat, even if you just listen to it, so I can only imagine how much ache this album caused the actual musicians. The female singer here, Natalie (who I think should put a little bit more effort into her stage name, as the rest of the band seemed to have done), has a good voice that fits to this band´s concept, it´s sensual, expressive and dramatic. What is obvious though is that the musical accompaniment doesn´t fit so well along this dramatic voice and in places this contrast is just too obvious and awkward: it is either not heavy enough, or too smooth, when it should´ve been rough and aggressive. Of course, very conveniently, the band also invented its own genre – “symphonic extreme metal art” and when you call something art, it´s immediately beyond the critique... But to really earn that metal part of this sentence, Arcane Grail should really invest more into its music´s heaviness.
The highlights of the album are Sorrow of Forgotten Pride, a slow and dreamy ballad, where (as it rarely happens on this cd) the vocals accompany each other just right. As well as nearly acoustic Die Sonnehymne is also very beautiful, though short.
All in all, it is a promising band and I think by their fourth of fifth album it will be a solid sound in not only Russian scene, but hopefully at least European too.