Released: 2009, Debemur-Morti
Reviewer: Alan Gilkeson
Though my opinion differs, many Metal critics consider KOSTOGHER Arckanum's crowning achievement. I've always leaned towards the third album, KAMPEN, but there's no doubt that Shamaatae, the only member of Arckanum, went from very good with FRAN MARDER, to genius when this record hit the streets in 1997. Not only did Arckanum completely blow apart the Swedish scene, making everyone look like a bunch of copycats, Shamaatae captured the essence of the beginnings of Black Metal in Norway. It's plausible that Burzum attempted to achieve the same sound, but lacked the production ability and, lets face it, talent.
Also, KOSTOGHER is home to what is probably my favorite Black Metal song of all time, 'Skoghens Minnen Vaekks'... unfortunately I have no idea how to pronounce my favorite song. However, rollicking with Black Metal aggression, totally ambient vocals from both Shamaatae and back ups, some strings here and there, and the oft forgot, amazing drum work from the aforementioned genius, this song is a precursor to the brutal elegance laid out here, and on its even more evolved successor.
KOSTOGHER and KAMPEN, both must haves for serious fans of Black Metal, especially those enthralled with its development and variations in delivery and texture, remain two of the top five or six Black Metal albums of all time. It marks the first time that the sound captured both the primal essence of the movement and the political/spiritual ideas it enveloped. Complete with chaotic mystery, odes to the forest and Pan, and contrapuntal diabolism, Arckanum were the real deal, making Arckanum's return over the past few years an integral piece to the further progression of Black Metal.