Review: Archaicus – Beneath the Horizon (demo)

The essence of isolation is explored within the three walls of Archaicus’ demo.
Experimental in its presentation, the inner workings of this music are more of an implosion than explosion – shifting the movements inwards. However, the soul of the demo is split – there is furious blackened thrash which is accompanied by haunting chords – these two elements at times works beautifully but can all too often conflict and cause ruptures within the otherwise seamlessly professional execution.

Created as a fusion of medieval black and thrash metal, the influences range greatly. The main influence, the band agree, is Satyricon “Dark Medieval Times”-era, the recording atmosphere having the same cavernous quality. While the echoes of early bands can be heard, the unique approach Archaicus has makes this demo distinctive. The marriage of tough speed and haunting chorded melody has been forged before and almost exclusively in this arena the successful practitioners master the art of fusion. Where this demo is weakest is the intrusion of silence, the two elements are not merged – they are replaced. The opening track’s first minute is most successful at combination.

Guitars form a background for the overpowering drum kit to take precedence for the core of the recording. The synthesizer when used in combination with all instruments makes for an epic and melodic atmosphere that lifts the entire song. Percussion plays well using the marching upbeat familiar to Darkthrone giving it that extra rhythm with a constant snare proving the volume. It is the most affluent instrument making not just the guitar soak under it, but the vocals and keyboard too. The vocals range from deathly growls to demonstrate-ably difficult to reach back-throat shrieks – another Darkthrone comparison.

The additional elements are, at times, over used. “Cold Winds of the Lamented Valley” is interrupted by a guitar that intrudes the sound making the re-entry to the second half like listening to the same song again. Not mentioning the fact this idea has been used before, earlier in the demo. The earlier experiment – found towards the end of the second song works perfectly in creating a complete and melodic finish.

This demo introduces a band that produces atmospherically rich black metal in the vain of early Satyricon, the potential for an LP with expanded creativity and expression is clearly possible and will be anticipated.

Originally posted on BlackMetalWeb
Review score: 4/5