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Spleen Arcana - The Field Where She Died CD (album) cover


Spleen Arcana


Crossover Prog

3.22 | 25 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Melancholic throughout, Spleen Arcana's debut provides a dark portrait of music that is somehow inviting and coldly pleasant. At times, the anguish and despondency are exaggerated, never to ludicrousness, but exaggerated nonetheless. Musically, there is so much to revel in, from excellent electric guitar passages to more reserved keyboard business. The vocals are plentiful but definitely not the star, and yet they seem to fit smoothly with the rest of the album. All said, The Field Where She Died is at once gritty and satisfying; I suspect most will find something to love with this one.

"Trample on Me" Stark piano opens the album with a sad theme. It takes on an even darker visage, with distorted guitars, spiraling Mellotron, and hushed vocals. Midway through, the piece adopts a steady rhythm with distant percussion, reminding me of Blue Oyster Cult vocally. The finale of a guitar solo is at once restrained and melodic, quite mindful of the overall mood and still entertaining.

"The Missing Piece" Acoustic guitar, piano, bass, and dismal vocals make this seem like a long lost Pink Floyd recording, yet the Mellotron, lead guitar, and backing vocals give it a life of its own.

"A Picture of Two Lovers in the Mist" This piece shifts from dark textures to more uplifting and simplistic structures. Things become malicious, especially vocally, right before giving way to a more intense section lead by a trembling electric guitar. In a subtle way, the vocals sound like those of Peter Hammill- strange indeed. A gentle acoustic guitar passage, something closer to U2, closes the piece.

"Tears are Made to Flow" More mainstream than anything else on the album (with perhaps the exception of "The Missing Piece"), I hear this as a combination of Pink Floyd, U2, and Van der Graaf Generator, if such a thing can be imagined. During the final three minutes, the music changes shape, but retains its overall sound, while adding a few rather good guitar solos.

"A Kind of Heaven" Spleen Arcana takes a more symphonic approach to the final piece, which is laced with synthesizer lead and has a bed of Mellotron on which the angst-ridden vocals lie. Another outstanding element is the bass-playing, which has its own presence throughout. The lengthy guitar solo is at times inappropriate, but finds its way back into the overall context of the music soon enough each time it strays. As it had done many times in the past, the arrangement incorporates a more meditative acoustic section, complete with more acceptable electric guitar excursions.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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