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ARCANE EXISTENCE - The Dark Curse cover
3.00 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2017


01. Welcome to Storybrooke (3:03)
02. The Dark One (4:34)
03. Reshaping History (4:31)
04. Magic (4:52)
05. Bleeding Through (4:04)
06. Somnumbra Atra (4:52)
07. A Land Without Magic (3:30)
08. Excalibur (6:20)
09. To the Underworld (8:13)
10. The Dark One (Dungeon Delver Edition) (4:33)

Total Time 48:32


- Kiera Pietrangelo / All instruments
- Jamie Fong / Vocals
- Eligio Tapia / Vocals

About this release

Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: January 6th, 2017

The Dark Curse is inspired by the TV show "Once upon a Time".

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Consisting of a lone instrumentalist, Kiera Pietrangelo, along with male vocalist Eligio Tapia and female vocalist Jamie Fong, Arcane Existence is a new black metal act from the United States and The Dark Curse (2017) is the trio's debut album. The album is based on the TV show Once Upon a Time and has been released as a free download, though physical copies also exist.

The band plays a brand of melodic black metal that also draws on symphonic metal and a bit of melodic death metal. It's incredibly polished music from a production standpoint and far removed from the raw origins of black metal. In fact a lot of the time the only thing that makes the album feel like a black metal release is Eligio Tapia's growl, which is mostly in that style although there are also instances of death metal growls as well, such as during Excalibur. The polished sound does of course allow every riff and melody to stand out well, showing Kiera Pietrangelo to be a competent instrumentalist for the group. The style is no doubt nothing that you won't have heard before, but it's enjoyable with the occasional standout idea.

If the mix of growls and female vocalist singing cleanly is making you think this album uses the now rather cliché beauty and the beast approach though, you'd actually be wrong as for the most part if you hear one vocalist in a track, you won't hear the other one at all. This actually works against the album somewhat though as it gives the impression that the setup with the vocals is a less than unified effort and although the music played by Kiera Pietrangelo remains in a similar vein, it's almost as if there are two different artists on The Dark Curse. For instance, the album leads off with some Eligio Tapia led tracks then abruptly he vanishes and it's Jamie Fong singing instead. It's made clear though on the group's Bandcamp profile that Arcane Existence is Kiera Pietrangelo's project, so that may explain why. I simply feel that the album would be more consistent if it didn't give the impression that the vocalists were going on coffee breaks because when Fong is in the driving seat all the black metal feel is lost. I believe that black metal can have clean vocals, but this music is too polished for that to really work here. Though I have to say that I do like her voice a lot. I'd have liked to have heard it more often in the album, interplaying with Eligio Tapia's growls.

The album closes with an alternate version of a track that appeared earlier in the album, The Dark One. Called the Dungeon Delver edition it's an instrumental, synth driven non-metal take on it. There's a synthetic sounding beat to it that I don't appreciate but the softer dynamic is quite interesting and makes me wonder how it would have worked inserted into the album proper. I think that's the story on this release: there's a lot of interesting ideas and it's professionally done, but Arcane Existence also exist in a rather crowded genre, one they're also just a bit too polished for to appeal to those listeners seeking out new black metal releases, so while The Dark Curse is enjoyable enough, it's also not very exciting. There are enough ideas on show it this album that that suggest that with some tweaking of how they're being used, this band could make something really quite good.

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