Lay back, listen to the sounds of lands far away, stories of the ancient, the music of oppression, conflict, heroism and truth as Arcandia evokes the myths and legends of Nordic history though the highly creative imagination of Antonio Pantano.
Delivered in a Neoclassical, romanticised and truly orchestral (Italian) style – that will entice all of those who enjoy instrumental backdrops to films and TV events that portray fantasy worlds such as the unmissable Game Of Thrones – as a holistic concept album, Arcandia relates an original story (by Antonio Pantano) named “Chronicles of the Nordic Warriors” and comes with a detailed colour map of the North West of Arcandia (also designed by Antonio Pantano).
The intro track “March to the Frozen Plain” sets the scene for what is to follow, starting with a narration to the storyline which means little without access to the full story. A couple of other tracks seem to give hope of something more to come such as “Ancient Folks of the North” and “On Top of the World” but with an hour and five minutes of instrumentals and only the occasional narration it feels lacking; there is an element of having heard this all before even though it is obviously an original work.
This is not because Arcandia is badly produced or misconceived, the production is extremely good and the concept is well grounded, but Antonio Pantano needs to focus on what he does best and try not to do everything from production, story writing, album artwork and playing virtually every instrument to washing up the coffee cups and sweeping the floor! The adeptness of his guitar work also comes under scrutiny at times; there are many out there who would knock it into a cocked hat.
Arcandia is not a bad album, if you enjoy instrumental work and have the imagination to feel the obvious emotion that Antonio Pantano has put into this, then it is undoubtedly for you. If there is such a beast as ‘easy listening’ Prog Rock / Metal, this is it! 6/10