Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Monday, September 26, 2022

Review: Black Vatican – Arcana Lament

Label: Self released

Date: January 18th, 2020

I knew Dorothy was up to something when she wanted to escape Kansas. At some point I wished myself a pair of silver slippers. And not just because I’m not all that impressed with Kansas based goths under the Black Vatican moniker. But for now I will just focus on music.

Black Vatican is a relatively new duo looking to tread on the gothic metal pathways. “Arcana Lament” is their second album which they hoped will gain them bigger attention. It’s not just me, it actually says so on their Facebook page. They are striving towards great success. Like their idols, again referencing from Facebook, Cradle of Filth, Evanescence, HIM, Theater of Tragedy, etc.

Sorry to say, but not this time…

“Arcana Lament” sounds like a gathering of dismissed Cradle of Filth tracks. Black Vatican has done their best to fuse a bit of black metal into their atmospheric induced gothic. Seems to me like it’s that same fusion that has failed. Among others. The album, in its entirety, sounds like a dissolved and taken apart view of individual pieces. The Americans did quite little to impress the listener. Not only does the album lack of any memorable moments, but their attempt at Cradle of Filth mimicry is subpar. Not least because the production is fairly weak, thus leaving out the massive soundscape the English manage on their own records. Layer upon layer is missing to fill that void and make the album burst out at the listener. The vocals are a bit more successful in painting a picture, but they are placed in front way too much. Perhaps a mixing problem, who knows? Nevertheless, one can admire the color of the voices (multiple, of course, as their primary influence) and their involvement in creating the atmosphere. Speaking of the atmosphere, it is there, no one can deny. Black Vatican is apparently quite capable of taking you on a journey to a desired destination. However, it’s the path that is rocky, ridden with holes, twisted around and overall turbulent.

Obviously, Black Vatican has still a lot to learn. Certain elements of their music are made according to the standards of the genre. But the fact is that there needs to be a lot more if any sort of wider success is expected. Otherwise, the duo has long years of dreaming.