Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Chilean Gothic - 75%

Sevenchurch, March 12th, 2014

This little beastie sits next to Procession in my listings. Odd as they both play a style of doom. And both come from Chile. And both have these great, haunting, deep, clean vocals. That's where similarities end, though. Poema Arcanus eschew the epic doom and play a much more doom/death kind of metal but with serious progressive overtones. It's also their fourth full length amidst a scattering of demos, EPs and singles so you have to assume they know where they are going, musically. It took me three listens to even get the hang of their songs, and when I did I had no idea why I had such difficulty. I think it must be the prog. Or my age.

Let's take the nine minute plus 'Iquilinos' which begins with a kind of gentle building drum and guitar shadowing each other that gives you a sense of trepidation, a gothic curiosity. It whispers beautifully before some wonderful deep, almost religious vocals rise and then are buried in the death style by the slow, crushing riff. This is (unavoidably, to a hack like me) like early Procession gone death metal and very accomplished too but a little dry for me. Then you get the first hints of a quiet style, a little Chilean flourish before an utterly soul rending section which flows perfectly from epic emotional doom into (get this) soft, perfect Marillion then into the death again. It's a curious mix. Partly successful (the epic, the quiet) partly not (the death).

The following track 'Fading' is shorter, and by now sounds like no one but Poema Arcanus but points of reference might be Katatonia with a good sprinkling of Jack Frost in the trembling, deep vocal approach. And a perfectly used out of tune piano (no, it really works). They really are a fascinating band, this Poema Arcanus. The real problem I have, which I suspect many will not, is some of the death sections which seem to lack the core colour of the epic, the prog and the rest. Or perhaps it's just those other sections are so damned good. 'Lambs', which is effectively melodic and proggy death metal with a great quiet section does little for me but sits nicely enough in the running order, if you see what I'm getting at; by this point you know the character of the band and this is simply part of it. And there is so very much to like, and to admire about this Chilean crew.

The score below reflects the problems I have with some of the death sections, a bit of my usual prog aversion, but they do blend and construct the songs so we'll regardless. Honestly anyone into melodic and progressive death/doom with just a little of the gothic about it really needs to hear this band as they offer them so much. Jack Frost crossed with a progged out death metal band. I'm really going to have to go to Chile and see just what they put in the wine down there.

Rather fine vintage indeed, and one which will take weeks to fully appreciate the variety of flavours beautifully blended into this.

(Previously published at

Not bad but nothing that amazing. - 67%

caspian, June 25th, 2013

This is pretty good- not something the entire world needs to hear, but pretty quality nonetheless, and something really enjoyable if you're a big MDB fan. Excuse the workmanlike quality of the review, as the album itself is nothing special but a solid, well thought out bit of work.

First thing that will come to most people here is that this really is very similar to My Dying Bride. The singer's got a bit more range and has that manly, latino thing going- definitely preferable to an occaisonally very whiny Englishmen, at least. The guitars crack along and much of it is, upon close listen, a lot heavier than you may think- Fugitive and Us, Those Half Dead often sound so stately and bummed that you don't realize just how damn chunky some of the riffs are, cracking along with some rather rude, nasty melodies that bring to mind Turn Loose the Swans but with a bit more of a chromatic, Floridian approach to them. It's not a bad sound at all.

Poema aren't a bad band by any means- the songwriting throughout is pretty solid, the ballads aside- not awful, just rather dragging. I guess the way to sum up why I like Transcient Chronicles (and why I don't love it) is that is really is the socialised, the re-distributed version of a My Dying Bride album. Stainthrope and co. will generally do an album with some really awkward transitions, a few songs of total snooze-inducing filler... but also a few shit-ruining songs of fantastic riffs and wonderfully-executed mopeyness. Transcient Chronicles has a few half decent moments- Fugitive is a rather nice piece of doomy tension with some great riffs, Lambs is a short, nasty old school slab of death/doom- and there's plenty of decent moments throughout. But there's nothing here that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. There's a lot of respectable, well played solidness, there's a lot of "fairly good" riffs. But there's no genius in this album, no parts that really stand out, that really hit the spot. At the end of the day, that's what music is all about, really.

This isn't bad and I don't want to really dissuade people from giving it a chance if death/doom is your thing. But it's not the most amazing thing by a long shot. Give it a download and give it a chance- it won't actively offend you, and maybe you'll find something here relevant to you. I didn't, unfortunately.