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ARCANSIEL

Neo-Prog • Italy


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Arcansiel biography
ARCANSIEL, led by Marco Galleti, were one of the first in the wave of new Italian progressives in the late 80's, combining symphonic rock influences with modern pop stylings. Their music lies close to the 80's British neo-progressive school with hints of bands like IQ and MARILLION. 90's NEO PROG!

"Still Searching" is their second album, from 1990, and has a much more mature and full sound, with a lot of overlapping guitar-keyboard melodies, some overt symphonic tendencies, and a full range of acoustic-electric dynamic expression. Definitely this is the one to get.

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Swimming In The Sand - The Best Of 1988-2004Swimming In The Sand - The Best Of 1988-2004
Import
Musea 2004
Audio CD$16.38
$9.99 (used)
Normality Of PerversionNormality Of Perversion
Import
Mellow Records
Audio CD$21.99
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ARCANSIEL discography


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ARCANSIEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 15 ratings
Four Daisies
1988
3.59 | 13 ratings
Still Searching
1990
2.09 | 9 ratings
Normality Of Perversion
1994

ARCANSIEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ARCANSIEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ARCANSIEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 7 ratings
Swimming In The Sand - The Best of 1989 - 2004
2004

ARCANSIEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ARCANSIEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Four Daisies by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.13 | 15 ratings

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Four Daisies
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by manofmystery

2 stars Un arc dans le Ciel - the positive: excellent use of wind instruments, decent guitar work. the negative: pedestrian drum line that almost never changes course and a sort of Flock of Seagulls-ish sound creeps in on occasion with the keyboard play

Four Daisies - they are still spot on with the use of the wind instruments on this song and I can't complain about the level of skill involved in the bands play but, that being said, this is not a track that can grab you in with its virtuosity and hold your attention. Seems to be musical potential here but the composition doesn't match it. The singing doesn't do much other than confirming that this, indeed, is a 1980s release.

Evelyn - Ok, here we go, the highlight track so far. For the first 3 minutes you will get soft and vulnerable vocals with the music swimming around it to a great balanced effect. From 3 minutes on the song ascends into a fast paced rocker only slowing to frame some excellent sax work.

When you're Right - I have trouble describing tracks that have nothing either exceptionally bad or good about them. The music is well played but it isn't particularly interesting with the exception of the softer sections. I do not own any of their follow up albums but I would be interested in seeing if they decided to scrap the poor drum lines and heavier bits in favor of the very beautiful style the display in the softer moments of this album (which are sadly few and far between). This song really goes through the motions after the 8:30 mark, I'm not sure where they were trying to go with it and for some reason I doubt they knew either. All over the place is a reasonable guess.

Stories of a Lake (Bonus Track) - If I could get my attention away from the nauseously repetitive drumming and bass work then you might have a nice little rock song here, maybe.

Not having heard ARCANSIEL's slightly higher rated follow up album, Still Searching, I don't know where the band took their sound after this album but my hope is that they let someone else pen the tunes and either let the drummer out of his box or canned him all together (though I'd rather think that his not doing much isn't his fault). While listening to this I thought about what could have been had someone wise stepped in and told them how beautiful the rare softer moments were and how pedestrian everything else was. As for a rating: If there is anyone out there interested in hearing unfullfilled potential then this is your album. This is for fans only.

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 Four Daisies by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.13 | 15 ratings

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Four Daisies
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A Milan-based band led by Marco Galletti (keyboards),ARCANSIEL started in 1982 as ''Sprouts'' covering mainly GENESIS songs.By mid-80's Galletti had already written some original material,while the band was renamed to ARCANSIEL,featuring also Gianni Lavagno on drums,Nico Clerici on bass,Piero Zancanaro on clarinet/sax and Claudio Baretta on guitars.It was the time for ARCANSIEL to start performing live,while they also recorded their first LP ''Four daisies'',released on Contempo Records (re-released two years later on CD).

The album holds some similarities with the style of mid-70's GENESIS and MARILLION,but it also has a strong personality,mainly to the use of the saxes of Piero Zancanaro.Their sound is definitely out of fashion,regarding the year of the album's release: Galletti's organ passages are clearly in the vein of TONY BANKS,his synth parts are also well-crafted and the guitar work of Barretta tends to 80's UK prog sound with a FLOYD-ian reference with nice melodies and catchy grooves.Zancanaro is definitely the pleasant surprise here.His melodic sax solos are full of emotion and delicacy,adding the band a touch of originality.Vocals,held by Galletti as well,are not the strong point of ARCANSIEL,without being an obvious weakness.My conclusion:The album is balanced between some trully fantastic memorable tracks and some mediocre ones,so ''Four daisies'' has more than a few good moments to be part of your collection.Recommended.

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 Still Searching  by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.59 | 13 ratings

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Still Searching
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by Andis

4 stars This is a gem of the neo-progressive rock from the 90s, a very good second album from Arcansiel. This album is like a neoprogressive version of Nuova era, their sound and production is about the same although Arcansiel is firmly rooted in neo-style in the vein of Marillion.

The first song, I'm still searching, is the best and longest song, over 20-minutes and is one of those rare songs that actually keeps you interested for the whole time. Fantastic melodies keeps coming on and on all those 20-minutes. A song that I still enjoy so many years after I bought the album. One of my all time favourites.

Angel of marsh is another good one, not as good as the first but still really great melodic neoprog with emotional vocals.

Your only treasure is not as progressive but full of emotions and melodies, really good one.

Empty pages continues in the more melodic vein and closes the album although this one is probalby the weakest one on the album, good but not great.

Arcansiel's Still searching is a hidden gem of the 90's neo-progressive rock and one that I always enjoy playing. The opening 21-minutes is fantastic.

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 Swimming In The Sand - The Best of 1989 - 2004 by ARCANSIEL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
3.19 | 7 ratings

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Swimming In The Sand - The Best of 1989 - 2004
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The philosophy of this album is somewhat similar to "Chronos" from "Starcastle". "Arcansiel" will rework some oldies and release this compilation album. But where "Starcastle" did use this as a pretext to a reunion of all the founding members and produced some very pleasant new versions, "Arcansiel" did not follow this direction.

They actually did something VERY wrong, IMO.

Their greatest song ever released and their sole epic "I'm Still Searching" is reduced to a mere seven minutes (coming from over twenty-one). But in order to produce another epic, the band (whose line-up for this re-write work does not even feature their leader) decided to stretch "Evelyn" (originally just over seven minutes) to a twenty-one minutes piece of music. I really do not understand this approach.

"I Am Still Searching" is completely denaturated and the vocals (lead + backing) are absolutely infamous. What did you do to my song ??? (see my review for the according album to get the full picture if you feel like it).

Now, "Evelyn". I didn't even mentioned it when I reviewed "Four Daisies" (their pleasant debut album) but, for the sake of expressing my feelings, I have to admit that this extended version is definitely waaaay better than the original. Nice violin, great guitar breaks and beautiful keyboards. A very good prog number indeed (in this version). IQ sits around the corner (which is OK to me) and at times I even feel like the "Neuschwanstein" singer is back.

The worse are of course the vocals for "Holy Wolf Suite" : they are as bad as the original. Hopefully the great duo sax / guitar is as powerful. The finale with its powerful keys is just gorgeous, to be honest. From the same album, the listener has to bear "The End". But just forget about it : this song which was poor will remain so.

Still, a song like "Angel Of March" from their second album will sound rather different here. But no great sax at the end of it, which is a pity.

Oh yes. I almost forgot the unreleased track "Swimmer In The Sand". Just below average.

Fortunately, two tracks will save this "compilation". The good thing is that they are good for over thirty minutes (just under the half of this album). These are really four stars songs. "Holy Wolf" being a two stars one.

I will round up my rating to three stars but if you want to get the best out of "Arcansiel", do listen to "Still Searching ".

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 Normality Of Perversion  by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.09 | 9 ratings

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Normality Of Perversion
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I rather liked their two previous albums (of which "Still Searching " was definitely a very good one). So, what has changed in just four years time ? Well, basically the whole creative line-up. While Lavagno (drums) and Opezzo (guitar) are still there; gone is Galetti (vocals and keys). And there you go for a MAJOR disappointment.

I was really charmed with Arcansiel's music but what's to be found here is really weird. Not completely bad because even if "The Girl From" holds some severe poor moments, it also has its good ones. But these vocals and choirs ! Gosh ! A disaster, really. As far as vocals are concerned, I have to say that I pretty much DISlike Paolo Carroni's ones. What's the purpose of having such a guy on board ? It might have been the time for "Arcansiel" to go and look for some vocalist who would sing in Italian rather than this Carroni guy.

Same applies to "Holy wolf Suite". As long as the intrumental moments are concerned, it is a decent song (same great duo sax / guitar that were already available on their previous releases). But boy; these vocals are just awful. And Carroni's performance won't improve during "The End" (if only it was HIS end...). A full jazzy-oriented song but repetitive and boring.

The nightmare goes on with "What Does "The Night Becomes True" Mean?". A horrific rock ballad for most of it. Only the last minute and closing section will save this track from the utmost misery.

This is unfortunately how a good and promising band will end-up (even if a compil effort will be realeased some ... ten years later). Two stars, but this is really the high-end range.

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 Still Searching  by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.59 | 13 ratings

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Still Searching
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Arcansiel's debut album was promising and I must say that this follow-up just keeps on with the promises.

The wonderful epic "I'm Still Searching" holds every aspect of prog that pleases me : nice vocal harmonies, great musicianship of course, subtle and light instrumental passages, very powerful keys, a touch of fantasy with some pleasant sax which will lead to a jewel of a song. Well, it is actually a piece of over than TWENTY minutes. And extremely pleasant ones.

It is a bit of a shame that this band does not have more exposure on PA. Almost no review for none of their album while "Arcansiel" truely deserves some attention. I tell you : at the time of release, this album is far much better than any which the Italian prog dinosaurs produced. Do not remain in doubt. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

There are of course some Genesis-like moments ("Trespass", "Foxtrot" with "Supper's Ready" flavour). But like in their first release there won't be any obvious attempt to sound as Gabriel. The similarity will remain in the musical parts. Not the great riff or solo ones. No, Arcansiel plays in the division of the subtle and sweet ones. And I just believe it is great. You'll have to listen to these good and gentle sax parts here. Do it and tell what your feelings are. I am absolutely found of the mood of this track. Beautiful music, I tell you. Even brilliant.

The remaining parts of this album are of course under the shadow of this superb symphonic track. "Angel of March" is more on the harder edge, fully neo-prog. The song is repetitive almost during its whole lenght. Only the last two minutes will bring some variety. Again, great sax part. Very pleasant song.

The rock ballad "Your Only Treasure" has a catchy melody and, again, the duo sax / guitar is just great. But I guess that this is just what prog is all about : provide EMOTIONS (I guess you already know that I am found of these...). The closing number sounds pretty much like an ... IQ song but you'll have to add again some great sax breaks to get the full picture.

I like this album very much and I will rate it with four stars. It is definitely their best album and I strongly recommend it to you. Do listen to it, please. And share your views as well.

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 Four Daisies by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.13 | 15 ratings

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Four Daisies
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This "Arcansiel" debut album is rather pleasant. Very personnal although some Camel influences can be found in the opening number "Un Arc Dans Le Ciel". But the song is harder and most convincing. A good instrumental piece of work. Probably a bit of Genesis during "Four Daisies" but not too much. it is a more complew song, featuring some good vocals (in English).

The song featuring most vocals is "Evelyn"; and Marco Galetti is doing alright I must say. The second half of the song is truely magical : guitar & keys sharing the top of the bill. Really attractive.

My fave song is "When You're Right". This will bring you with lots of subtlety into the Genesis world. Instrumentally. No attempt in sounding like Gabriel since there are almost no vocals on this album. And this is fine with me. The music in here is just beautiful. And I like it. Romantic sweet moments, wonderful acoustic breaks and finally a very catchy finale; somewhat Supertrampish. A great number, no doubt. "Stories Of A Lake" sounds also very nice : good sax (but not invading) and great guitar even if the struture of the song is rather straight-forward.

This is of course not an essential album, nor "Arcansiel" a pivotal band in the Italian prog history but when this album was released (1988); prog was not really in great shape and this must be added to Arcansiel's credit. I believe that prog needs such a band; which perpretrates the style.

Three stars for this one. But they'll do better.

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 Still Searching  by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.59 | 13 ratings

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Still Searching
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It's very good CD from Italian Neo-prog band ARCANSIEL. The very beginning evokes COLLAGE and MARILLION in listener's mind...Despite vocalist's accent and the obvious hand-madeness of the whole record, it sounds very good, with surprising saxophone wonderful solos and great guitarwork.Opening 21-minute epic "I'm still searching" leads a listener through a gallery of moods and shifting pictures - can be compared with best Italian Neo acts!!! Other tracks are less complex and of a "songy" nature, reminding me of my favourite Clive Nolan's project - SHADOWLAND!

Enjoyable and overlooked record, non-essential, but recommended for Neo-Prog/ melodic prog/GENESIS+MARILLION-inspired prog fans.

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 Normality Of Perversion  by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.09 | 9 ratings

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Normality Of Perversion
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is Neo-prog not in its best.Songs feature wonderful saxophone solos - this is on the good side - and no mentioning of it in credits. Also guitarwork is kinda remarkable - in borders of this particular CD. The music itself varies from hard-rock (the opener) to almost Symphonic sound (the 14-minute "Holy Wolf Suite")."The End" is almost Canterburish instrumental, "What Does..." is a hairy-metal blues with avangarde rumble inside... etc. Guys cover a lot of styles, but they fail to have their own.Also on the bad side we got vocalist's accento (but vocals are good though), shocking frequent usage of F-word (sung sometimes by fairy female voices with even more terrible accento) and common low level of soundproducing/recording/musicianship. Definetely for collectors only

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 Swimming In The Sand - The Best of 1989 - 2004 by ARCANSIEL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
3.19 | 7 ratings

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Swimming In The Sand - The Best of 1989 - 2004
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars ARCANSIEL got back together after breaking up as a band in the nineties. This is a "Best Of" release that they brought out as a precursor to putting out a new studio record.

They re-did all the original songs and the first song "Swimming In The Sand" is a brand new song. Hard to believe they have been around since the late eighties. I really like their sound, good vocals that are in English. Lots of keyboards and guitar along with sax, flute and violin. "Angel Of March" is a catchy song with soaring guitars, great keyboards, I especially like the quiet parts with the flute.

"I Am Still Searching" is a keyboard driven song that's not as good as the first two songs, but the harmonies are nice. "Evelyn" includes violin, sax and flute with some soaring guitar, it's all good including the keyboards. This is probably the best song on here. "The End" is kind of jazzy with STING-like vocals, some sampling, Rhodes piano and sax. I lastly will talk about "Holy Wolf Suite". It starts with the singer rapping (yikes !) and he also drops some "F" bombs and also includes some perverted lyrics. Awful, awful song. Skip it every time, and what should have been an excellent rating receives a good rating.

Still worth getting though.

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