Sound — 10
Many people know "Arckanum" from the infamous music video of "Gava Fran Trulen", where "Shamaatae" (the band's only member) is walking in a forest and dressed as a wizard/troll. The sound quality of the song is bad and it features some really hilarious screaming. That also scared me for a long time and I thought that Arckanum is just some "serious joke band", but when I listened to the band's studio album, I realized that it's actually one of the best bands Black Metal has to offer. The sound on the album is nothing like on the demo: the guitar sound is heavy and thick, the production is good (which however went worse on the later albums) and the ridiculous screaming has turned into badass sounding, yet less original screaming. The album starts with a slow Ambient intro "Pans Lughn" and suddenly blasts into maybe the fastest song in the album, "Hvila Pa Tronan Min." After going through really slow and really fast songs, the album has also more mid-tempo and heavier songs like Gava Fran Trulen, the slow and melodic instrumental song "Brghet" which has some awesome riffing, and "Trulmlder", which contains mostly clean vocals. Overall, the album is much more diverse than a typical Black Metal album and contains much better riffing with a good production, but without lacking good Black Metal atmosphere.
Lyrics — 10
Here comes on the best parts of the album: First of all, Shamaatae is known for his really recognizable and original voice which may sound a bit weird for some people, but his is also an awesome lyricist. Why? Because he writes his lyrics in Ancient Swedish. I can only imagine how difficult it is to write lyrics with a language like that, which isn't spoken anywhere anymore and probably isn't even taught anywhere, just because there is no use for it. So basically the only way to learn a language is just to read it and learn it by yourself. With Arckanum being probably the only band (at least the only Metal band) writing it's lyrics in Ancient Swedish, it gives Arckanum a really original touch, making it once again much more unique than many other Black Metal bands.
Overall Impression — 10
Excellent riffing and singing and lyrics in Ancient Swedish. Those things pretty much sum up the album Fran Marder. Although the album's production isn't as crappy as it is on many Black Metal albums, all you trve BM fans who only listen to lo-fi stuff should also check out Arckanum, you might be surprised that a band with good production can also make good music! The only thing I can still say here is that I recommend the album to anyone who listens to Black Metal. Best song and worth checking out: Gava Fran Trulen. (No, not the demo version on the video, the studio version. Well, you can also check out the video for lulz, but don't be scared, the album doesn't sound like that.)