Winter’s Knight

wintersknightTitle: Winter’s Knight
Label: Monolith Graphics
Artist: Nox Arcana
Price: $14.99
UPC: 808817001124

I know I’ve reviewed Gothic/New Age music in the past, but this CD — as well as the other CDs of Nox Arcana — is the one I keep coming back to when I’d like high-quality, fantasy-esque music to accompany me on my endeavors, particularly those of a literary nature. Nox Arcana is certainly one of the best sources of inspiring indie and “underground” music available.

This CD truly is beautiful just to look at. The artwork is immaculately gorgeous — a winged knight, shrouded in the frosty blueness of a deep winter evening, is seen standing in tragic silence with a shield and sword. The image is so crisp and carefully rendered it seems to breathe with life. Already the listener feels pulled into the mythical world of the CD. “World” is precisely the correct word: the CD itself is a homage to this dark knight and his journey through a cold and haunted Gothic landscape, a journey the listener keenly experiences over more than an hour of meditative music.

The feel of the music is distinctly and firmly Gothic, very much rich with the delicate feel of winter and the darkness of a solstice night. The tracks utilize ghostly chiming bells, thick yet mellow strings, and pensive Gregorian chants to craft this lonely, enchanted world. The music surges and falls in an elegant and elusive manner, mirroring the way one might expect snow to silently fall. These thoughtful strings are entwined and meshed with fleshy chants, quasi-human voices that come and go, a touch of humanity — or even divinity — that is a perfect accompaniment and never overbearing. Meanwhile, the bells’ melodies periodically ring out clearly above the hum of the storm or crisply chime out in moments of silence, the heartbeat of the evening’s spirit.

Aside from the music’s beauty, what I really love about this CD is how beneficial it is for a writer. Writers are always looking for music to listen to while they’re writing, and this CD is perfect for writing fantasy. The music consists almost always of a combination of strings, bells, and Gregorian chants, melded such that they flow smoothly and calmly around each other, and this uncomplicated yet powerful flow of melody allows the listener to write without feeling overwhelmed or distracted by the music. As soon as the music begins, I feel as though I’ve been drawn into a trance and can write easily, truly feeling the touch of snowflakes on my cheeks and the magic of winter. I also like that the tracks are short, each about 1-3 minutes in length. I can put them on replay and enjoy one beautiful spot over and over, never losing my place in the journey like I would with longer tracks. My personal favorite on the CD is the track “Crystal Forest”. That one little song embodies everything that the CD is about – dark nights, wandering souls, and the cool, fresh kiss of enchantment.

5 out of 5 stars!

[Reviewed by Belle diMonte.]

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