Yes, another CD review for Nox Arcana. Following the same tradition as the other CDs, this CD brings us 21 tracks of haunting music, this time set in the world of dark fantasy, achy witchcraft, and twisted fairy tales. The CD leads us into and loses us in the depths of a black forest, where we meet ghouls, wraiths, and witches, and ultimately find ourselves lost under the spell of the Witch Queen herself.
Listening to this CD feels as if you were rummaging through your grandmother’s attic, only to discover a hexed book of tales and fall inside them. The ominous, prickly trickles of music box melodies conjure up feelings and images of a haunted childhood, the clear bells drawing us farther and farther into the dark beauty of the forest. Rising, shivering strings accompany and support the bells, grimly fleshing out the landscape — or rather, soundscape — for our imaginations. Sometimes we hear a grim piano strumming powerfully beneath it all; sometimes vague voices call out in breathy whispers. And sometimes, we clearly hear the voice of the Witch Queen — or is that Grandma calling? — summoning us in a raspy whisper. Each of the tracks runs into each other, flowing smoothly like one sinuous tale. We are fully enveloped in the realm of these dark stories.
This CD is enjoyable to listen to, though I would say it is not as gripping as Nox Arcana’s other CDs. The tracks seem more repetitive, with not as much variety in the melody from one track to the other. The strings rise and fall; voices whisper — after a while, each track feels like exactly like the other. This might be good for those looking for continuity when they listen to music … a writer, for example, might appreciate this, because it would allow them to stay “in the zone” of the black forest without egregious interruptions or changes. I personally was bored by this. I found the tracks with the piano playing to be too strong and powerful for me to write by, and the other tracks that were mostly strings or voices were not strong enough for me to hold onto while I was writing. This CD would probably be better suited for simply listening to, so you can hear everything and also catch what the Witch Queen whispers to you when you finally meet. This CD might also be good for playing at a Halloween or other fantasy-themed party. It would provide appropriate, moderate, yet intriguing ambiance to any such occasion.
3 out of 5 stars!
[Reviewed by Belle diMonte.]