1. July 2021 (CD & LP) ; 11. June (Digital)
Sentinel Records proudly presents a re-release of ARCANE SUN’s self-titled debut album, originally released back in 1998 only ever on CD and long out of print. An atmospheric Doom/Death gem from Ireland!
This new version comes on limited vinyl (100 copies 180g heavyweight red LP with exclusive poster + 200 copies 180g heavyweight black LP), limited CD (250 copies with bonus track) and will be distributed digitally, officially, for the first time. The album was mastered for vinyl at The Devil Mark Studios, features an original painting by Rob Graves (Vomitor) and layouts by Annick Giroux (Temple of Mystery Records).
ARCANE SUN began as a band in the early part of 1995 when drummer Stephen Norton and vocalist Paul Kearns, who had played together in Fifth Dominion, joined forces with guitarist Fergal Flannery. That June 1995 they made their live debut opening for Anathema & Primordial in Dublin. Shortly afterwards guitarist Brian Carroll came on board to complete the desired two guitar line-up. With the exception of Brian, who was to remain as a full member until a short time before the recording of the album, ARCANE SUN was a core of guitarist/drummer/vocalist for their time as an active entity. Enlisting help from a number of friends along the way whenever a live show approached with not enough members to fill the required positions.
"Towards Elizium", the first demo, was recorded in August 1995 at Poppyhill Studio in Kildare, Ireland and released on cassette later in the month. The demo was received warmly to where, along with a relatively steady number of domestic performances, it had built a healthy following in Ireland. Being very active in the underground tape trading scene of the time their gospel was spread widely enough for the demo to have sold 500 copies all told - with labels/distros, such as Prophecy Productions who ordered 50 copies, playing an important role. March 1996 marked Arcane Sun's first time to play outside Ireland when they travelled to London for a show organised by the infamous Devil's Church club at The Powerhaus.
With no serious offer received from the demo the band returned to Poppyhill Studios in May 1996 to undertake the recording of two new songs. Sent out as a promo cassette, under the title "Eden Eclipsed", to fanzines and labels, it led to a number of labels making offers over the course of the following six months. Ars Metalli, a German label based in Frankfurt-Oder, stood out clearly once their offer was received and in spring of 1997 the agreement was formalised with a contract.
With Stephen Norton parting with the band in late 1996, a new Northern Irish drummer was taken into the fold. Mark Higgins joined and suddenly something that the band had not even realised they were missing was in place. ARCANE SUN had been dysfunctional as a band unit since day one and despite that not changing, the remainder of 1997 saw enough discipline to reach the start of 1998 with an album ready to be recorded. Just.
So it was January 1998 that brought band and Poppyhill Studios back together for between seven to ten days (nobody can remember) where Willie Headon and Graham Ryan, as studio engineers, managed to piece together a completed album. Brian had finished his tenure with the band by now but was invited to the studio to contribute guitar on the two songs he had written – "I Was Alive Then...." and "Avatar". That aside and vocals, Fergal performed and orchestrated everything on the album, more or less, with Mark acting as the foundation pulling everything into its place and bringing stability. Then in March 1998 Ars Metalli had in their hands a finished album that was penciled in for a late 1998 release.
“Arcane Sun”, the self-titled debut, saw the light of day in October 1998. This was then followed by a show that has gone down in the annals of the Irish Metal scene's history as being one of the most revered nights in our domestic concert past. 28 November 1998 saw the legendary insanity of Venusian Death Cell along with Dreamsfear, Arcane Sun and Primordial perform at Slattery's Bar in Dublin. Despite being no more than one of four bands on stage that night, it's generally looked back upon fondly as being the release gig for the "Arcane Sun" album.
The album received an almost ecstatic response in some corners of the press however the truth is that it was never close enough to putting its head above the radar for a noticeable impact. Talks with Ars Metalli of a tour in mainland Europe following release were, unfortunately, never more than speculative. However, August and September 1999 saw the peak of the “Arcane Sun” era.
The band's only ever appearance on the European mainland came on 20 August at the 1999 edition of Party.San Open Air festival. This, with the two shows the following month, were to be a brief glimpse into how it may have been had the right person been added to the line-up as we saw how a person of that calibre, if taken into the mix, could be transformative. Ciaran Williams of Primordial joined the band as live guitarist for these three performances and his presence was indeed transformative.
ARCANE SUN opened for Anathema in Belfast and Dublin on 18 & 19 September with both being the highlights of the album era. The final show came on 8 December 1999, along with Abaddon Incarnate, supporting legends Morbid Angel in Dublin. A fitting endpoint. As well as being the final show, whilst not realised at that time, it was also the band's end for the most part. Essentially once off the stage in The Music Centre that night the road ended..
There were efforts towards finishing a second album in 2000, even recording it to near completion that summer but it was over. The soul of the band had gone and what had remained of it had never left the venue that night in December 1999. In hindsight that's just how it had to be because that's just how it was – a one album band and that's how it should remain.
1. Canto I (The Search)
2. I Was Alive Then
3. Sundrenched (Beneath the Very Skies We Sought)
5. We Stood with Time
6. Your Name
7. Canto II (Arrival, and Submergence)
8. And the Waters Were Like Wine
9. Longing for Eden's Rain (and Winter's End)
10. Promised (So Many Years Have Passed)
11. Endure (Bonustrack / CD+Digital)
Paul Kearns - Vocals
Fergal Flannery - Guitars / Bass / Keyboards
Mark Higgins - Drums
Additional on recording:
Brian Carrol - Guitars