Album Reviews

Arven – Black Is The Color Review


Released By: Massacre Records

Release Date: Out Now!!

Genre: Melodic Metal



Line Up:

Carina Hanselmann – Vocals

Anastasia Schimidt – Guitar

Ines Thomé – Guitar

Lena Yatsula – Piano

Lisa Marie Geiß – Bass

Till Felden – Drums



1. Believe

2. Don’t Look Back

3. Rainsong

4. The One For Me

5. All I Got

6. My Darkest Dream

7. Cercle d’émeraude

8. In Your Dreams

9. Fireside Stories

10. My Fall


German metal band Arven made me an instant fan with their outstanding debut Music Of Light two years ago, an album which seamlessly blended a few different genres together to create one of the most memorable albums of 2011. Now with their sophomore release Black Is The Color, they’ve only gotten better and their music has only gotten more diverse, to the point where you really can’t give an accurate description with just one genre, or even two genres. Maybe three or four genres could cover it, but even then, you would be leaving certain aspects out. However, what matters is that they managed to blend everything together fluidly, so it’s an album where it’s easy to love everything about it.

One thing you might notice by looking at the cover is that the band is almost entirely female, with drummer Till Felden being the only male member. As a result, it’s not too surprising that the album is very melodic, the tempo often laid back and relaxed, and the music often very beautiful. At the same time, these ladies can certainly play metal, and one thing I love is that even in the middle of a very calm song like “My Darkest Dream” they can suddenly change things up with a surprisingly heavy and technically impressive guitar riff. What impresses me most, though, is that many of these sudden changes are very subtle and fit in perfectly, so it’s an album where it’s easy to just relax and enjoy the music no matter where the band decides to take you.

There are many surprises on the album, and that leads into why it’s so tough to classify: The songs usually start out slow and calm, but just when you think you have a song figured out the band will introduce a new element, often bringing in elements of genre that wasn’t in the song before, and so it makes for an unpredictable album in the most satisfying way possible. On the whole I’d say it’s a melodic metal album, with strong influences of power metal and symphonic metal, as those are the genres that show up most frequently throughout the album, but there are certainly elements of heavy metal, folk metal and progressive metal to be found as well.

Vocals were a big strength on the debut, as Carina Hanselmann’s expertly performed operatic vocals were always a pleasure to listen to. On this album she still sounds as amazing as before, but her vocals are a lot clearer and less operatic, though she still sings just as high and sounds as angelic as ever. On occasion she’s accompanied by some equally impressive choir vocals featuring Stefan Schmidt from Van Canto and Heavatar, who also sings a duet with Carina on “The One For Me”, where the two sound absolutely incredible together.

Usually I would go into detail about some of the highlights of the album, but in this case I think to do so would be a disservice to the music, as part of the fun is in discovering all the subtle surprises on each song. I will say, every song here is absolutely fantastic, with the right balance between being catchy and complex, and while it’s a very calm and melodic album overall there are certainly moments where the music is surprisingly heavy, and the songwriting overall is quite complex. As far as favorites go, they would have to include the more straight-forward power metal opener “Believe”, the aforementioned duet on “The One For Me”, the semi ballad “All I Got” and the instrumental “Cercle d’émeraude”.

Overall, Black Is The Color is one of those albums that’s hard to describe but definitely easy to love. Some may be thrown off by the amount of elements found on some of the songs, but I definitely love everything here and I think Arven have done a great job of establishing their own sound at this point. As much as I loved the debut, I think this album takes the band even further and I highly recommend it to fans of any type of melodic metal in general, and specifically anyone who enjoys awesome female vocals and a wide range of genres within the same album, often the same song.



Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    10/10


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