Arckanum - Kostogher
Necropolis Records
Black Metal
12 songs (57:51)
Release year: 1997
Necropolis Records
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review
Arckanum, for refreshers, is a one man project of the Swedish chaos magician Shamaatae. We’ve seen multiple albums of terrific quality that capture a youthful vigor on the vocals while Shamaatae utilizes solid skill on everything he plays. As the Arckanum brand grows along with my glorious collection, it seems like a great time to look back at some of the rougher, younger beginnings of this one man chaos-gnostic project. Shamataae never has his name mentioned among those virulent savages that graced the second wave of Black Metal and the black lists of Christian organizations in Scandinavia. Part of this may be due to his late arrival on the scene, and his magically oriented yet not particularly anti-Christian lyrics. Of course, I really have no idea what the Hell he is talking about. I had an old professor mine moderately translate some of his work, and it seems as if his sole dedication is to glory the chaos magick in which he practices. Regardless of the backdrop behind the man, his music never truly disappointed.

Shamaatae has been producing at a steady rate, having two more recent albums I have yet to enjoy already out in this young decade. This is Kostogher, one of his oldest, fastest, and best records. This 1997 release embraces and creates the modern Arckanum sound that so many fans have come to appreciate. It is a traditional sound yet it always has the Arckanum touch. Technique wise, he’s basically replicating a lot of what Black Metal is: blast beats, some double bass, and some groove touches (such as the brutal beginning to the fourth track.) Don’t even ask me how to spell these songs. Shamataae plays your usual minor thirds and detuned alternate picked riffs. He does what many expect out of a Black Metal drummer, but the sound is always his own. It almost alludes to Slayer, where ten thousand Thrash bands have played and regurgitated the same styling that King and Hanneman played, yet everyone knows the difference between some idiot and Slayer. Arckanum has the same projection here. The production is highly frenetic, more primitive than his most polished releases, but it doesn’t ever suck. My only complaint (possibly because I am wearing ear buds) is the pitch of his crash cymbal. It is great sounding, but each time it is struck it resounds too sharply. It almost makes it painful to hear, but it never does too much to ruin each track.

Arckanum has a quality all to its own. It doesn’t have the speed of Marduk, the songwriting and leads of Dissection, or the progression of Watain . None of that truly matters, as Arckanum has found a way to carve out his own niche that has fans and his brand growing. Chaotic incantations are laid throughout the album, some by a mysterious female voice. One can tell that Arckanum here is laying it on the line with the drums. There are tons of double bass runs, moderately productive cymbal work and fills, and energy. It is the energy behind this album. The listener can clearly hear that this is Shamaatae at the height of his young chaotic self. His lyrics are delivered with an uncontrollable harshness that seems maddening in comparison to some of his more precise later work.

So which incarnation of Arckanum, a band I know well do I approve of? Well I cannot do anything but give the boring answer. I want to have my cake and eat it too. If you’re in the mood for some heavy, heavy, stuff, this is the way to go. If you want to hear more technically proficient and clean cut (but still savage) Arckanum, see my first review of this band. The only disappointment is that I got the blander cover, albeit with an amazing booklet to skim through. Altogether, Shamaatae has an impressive discography to call his, and a fan who will endure any ups and downs of his career. He has earned it.

Killing Songs :
They're all pretty great
Tony quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Arckanum that we have reviewed:
Arckanum - Fenris Kindir reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Arckanum - Helvitismyrkr reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Arckanum - Sviga Læ reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Arckanum - ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ reviewed by Tony and quoted 98 / 100
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