Poema Arcanus - Telluric Manifesto
Aftermath Music
Progressive Doom-Death
9 songs (62:48)
Release year: 2005
Poema Arcanus, Aftermath Music
Reviewed by Ken

The doom-death genre is usually hit or miss with me, generally more misses than hits. I'm not a big fan of death metal, nor am I a big fan of slower-paced doom metal. Occasionally, however, a band comes along that incorporates both of those styles I usually dislike and creates something that I simply love. The third full-length release from Chilean doom-death band Poema Arcanus is an album I intended to add to the “miss” column, but over the course of a few weeks of listening to Telluric Manifesto I found myself compelled to call them a hit.

What first caught my ear was Poema Arcanus’s similarity to the more doomy, dark melancholic side of Moonspell, one of my all-time favorite bands. They mix slow, heavy death metal with a lot of atmospherics, keyboards, and piano. Vocals go from brutal death metal growls to a clean style very reminiscent of Fernando Ribeiro of Moonspell.

Telluric Manifesto opens with “Dreamsectary,” brutality colliding with melody. This song, and also many on the album, is almost progressive in its dynamic shifts between its death metal onslaught and latter day Anathema-like proto-prog-doom style. “Circos” and “51% Dead” reinforces this with an even greater progressive lean due to the spacey, futuristic keyboard work, and an almost lounge music swing on the latter. “Nihil,” “sadiM” and “Promised Light” take a more melodic, ethereal route, only briefly touching upon the heavier death metal side of things. The album closer, “US,” is a slow-burner that begins with some light background static/noise and piano work, slowly building into a crushing, plodding doom-death killer!

The first time I played Telluric Manifesto I was sure from the onset that I would not like the album, but by the time “US” finished I was most positive that the band had won me over. Some time would go by and I would play it again, and without fail the same thing would happen. It took three weeks, countless spins later, before Poema Arcanus beat me into submission! Telluric Manifesto has won me over, but not without a fight. It was a hard album for me to digest, even with the strong similarities to Moonspell. The more I think on it, though, I feel that it wasn’t a case of the music not being deserving of my praise, but my inability to see beyond my own assumed personal taste. This is why I don’t review albums without listening to them for a few weeks. Things change; and sometimes for the better.

Like I said, I do like some other doom-death bands, but very few; and those that I do like have gone through the same screening process. A lesson learned, noted, and appreciated. Poema Arcanus and Telluric Manifesto are well worth your time (even if takes three weeks).

MP3: Dreamsectary and Promised Light

VIDEO: Iconoclast (from the album Iconoclast)

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
Dreamsectary, Circos, Absinthe, Promised Light and Stone And Magma
Ken quoted 80 / 100
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