Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nox Arcana- Blackthorn Asylum

The hollow edifice of Blackthorn Asylum stands as a sinister monument to the horrors that once lurked within its desolate halls. The bleak confines of the sanitarium held no mercy or hope for those condemned to a sentence within and tall gates of stone allowed no possibility for escape. Over the decades, the torments inflicted upon the inmates resulted in unlocking the demons from their minds, but as a horrific consequence, the tortuous experimentation also unleashed the vile malediction that now infests the abandoned asylum, taken from the back of the tray card for Blackthorn Asylum. This information here gives and idea of what Blackthorn Asylum is based on. Joseph Vargo and William Piotrowski also go back to the domain of H.P. Lovecraft the plot builds upon the short story by Lovecraft "From Beyond".

Legacy of Darkness starts of the CD and sets the foundation of what is ahead, there is also the spoken lyrics for Legacy of Darkness in the CD booklet. Blackthorn Asylum the title track for the album it contains the trademark orchestration that Nox Arcana is known for this is a favorite track on the album. Tapestry of Decay is a track that is filled with sorrow but also a sense of doom as well and in my opinion one of the standout tracks. Fast orchestral keys is what are played in the track Frenzy which is very similar to the track Oblivion that is found on the last Nox Arcana album I reviewed Phantoms of the High Seas. Fade to Black is the close out track on the album the song reminded me of something that could possibly be heard as background music in an Hellraiser movie, just around the time when the cenobites enter the specific location of which they where summoned. I also noticed around the four-minute and sixteen second mark the track started back up with a spoken narration.

The cover artwork for Blackthorn Asylum it is one of my favorite Nox Arcana artworks thus far. The artwork reminds me of something you would see in an episode of Tales from the Crypt or the Twilight Zone. Also within the actual package for Blackthorn Asylum there are hidden riddles and puzzles. If you are into neo classical, instrumental or dark ambient I would suggest in buying Blackthorn Asylum because Nox Arcana does the music really well.

Rating 8.4/10

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nox Arcana- Phantoms of the High Seas

I am a big fan of symphonic black metal but I always wondered if I would ever stumble across a band that did not play metal but done entire songs with gothic choirs and orchestrations. I found that when I first discovered Nox Arcana the duo of Joseph Vargo and William Piotrowski are brilliant songwriters I am just amazed at how well written the songs are on all Nox Arcana albums and especially Phantoms of the High Seas the first Nox Arcana review to be featured here.

Nox Arcana’s album Phantoms of the High Seas takes me back to a time of wonder when pirates ruled the world’s seas on quest to find new distant lands and unearth buried treasure the pirates would start on their voyages across the open sea as the sound of waves would crash against their ships as huge square sails would prevent the ship from sailing into the wind. Some of the pirate ships would fall victim to the seas and be claimed and lost forever but only a phantom would remain of these pirates. Fate of the Tempest features some clean vocals by Ty Cook which was a nice surprise on the album.

Some of my favorite tracks on the CD are Edge of the World, Pirates, Oblivion is pure orchestral magnificence on all levels this track requires the repeat button, Against the Storm, Out of the Mist, Ghost Ship, and Skull and Crossbones based on the atmosphere the songs contain it is very eerie and mystical in a way with the gothic choir and orchestrations in other words this CD is practically flawless. Crossfire is a track where you can hear cannons shooting off in the background. The album contains twenty-one tracks in total none of which get boring as the ideas in each one seems to flow quite well with the next tracks.

I recommend in buying a copy of Phantoms of the High Seas the album is becoming one of my favorite releases by Nox Arcana and another added bonus for the excellent cover artwork. The sound quality of Phantoms of the High Seas is outstanding as well there is a perfect balance of all the individual instruments that are used on the songs throughout the CD, especially when listening to the album on headphones the pirate symphony has now begun their orchestra. Be ready to set sail once you put Phantoms of the High Seas into your CD player. Head on over to Nox Arcana's official site or the Monolith Graphics website to order a copy of the CD.

Rating 9.4/10