Released: 2009, Hunter's Moon Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Arcane Grail is loosely describable as a symphonic black metal six-piece with melodic death metal influences, hailing from Moscow, Russia. ARYA MARGA is the second full length from Arcane Grail and apparently takes a great deal of influence from Cradle of Filth as is evident on lead off track "Arcane Grail", what with its operatic female choirs and screechy werewolf howls. Very gothic in nature is this Arcane Grail.
"Of Snake and Raven" opens with chunky rhythm guitars amidst female vocal passages and piano, at first sounding a bit like Therion, before once again worshipping at the altar of Cradle of Filth come lead vocals. By track four "Renaissant the Reverie" it becomes pretty apparent that Arcane Grail are a one trick pony, and that one trick is ripping off Dani Filth and company to surprising results. If you were perhaps employed in a management position by Hot Topic at your local mall, you might be able to make some extra cash on the side bootlegging copies of this disc and pawning it off as an unreleased COF album to unsuspecting customers.
My final verdict on Arcane Grail and their second disc ARYA MARGA is that they are an extremely talented bunch, no doubt. To be able to compose, perform and blatantly rip off Cradle of Filth to such a convincing degree is no small feat. Having said that, these nine songs lack any sense of originality or substance and having undertaken a different vocal approach maybe would have elevated this disc to a higher rating. That, or if you must rip off a band, try and find one a little less distinctive. Cradle of Filth has been imitated to death since the late nineties and no matter how well a reproduction an imitator will pull off, at the end of the day it's pretty pointless.