Non content d'illuminer la voûte céleste, Arcturus est l'une des étoiles les plus brillantes du monde musical. A chaque nouvel album, ces talentueux musiciens - issus de formations non moins prestigieuses (Mayhem, Ulver, etc.) nous desservent quelque chose d'unique et de novateur. Après la théâtrale et avant-gardiste « Masquerade infernale » sortie en 1997, on se demandait vraiment ce qu'ils allaient bien pouvoir inventer. Dans « The sham mirrors », les guitares - au son monstrueux - reviennent au devant de la scène avec des riffs plus accrocheurs, notamment dans « Collapse generation » et dans « Radical cut ». Dans ce dernier, Ihsahn - du légendaire Emperor - apparaît en guest-star et nous gratifie de son chant black caractéristique. Les claviers sont dans l'ensemble plus progressifs avec des envolées virtuoses - tout comme les guitares. Contrairement à son prédécesseur plutôt ancré à la fin du XIXème siècle, « The sham mirrors » est davantage tourné vers l'avenir avec l'inclusion de sons et rythmes modernes (Nightmare Heaven). A propos de rythmes, le jeu d'Hellhammer est comme d'habitude époustouflant de précision et de subtilité. Quant à Garm, son chant est remarquable et ses délires vocaux toujours aussi jouissifs. Arcturus a à nouveau réalisé un chef d'œuvre incontournable, à la fois moderne et orchestral, avant-gardiste et bien metal.
D'un point de vue purement instrumental l'ensemble de la discographie d'Arcturus est irréprochable, mais pour ma part j'ai énormément de mal avec les vocaux d'ICS Vortex. Alors que pour ce qui est de la "période" Garm aka Kristoffer Rygg on est en plein dans la perfection comme à chaque fois que le bonhomme pose sa voix quelque soit le projet... Cet album est sans nul doute le meilleur des norvégiens !
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Wild.27 novembre 2002
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a very intricate, intense album. I can't really compare to their earlier albums, don't have them yet, but i will get them soon. Keyboards are very well played, especially the intro to "Star-Crossed" and throughout "Collapse Generation," and the drumming is amazing, of course. Arcturus isn't afraid to innovate, as they do with songs like the chaotic "Radical Cut" with its weird lyrics and VERY SHORT BUT AWESOME solo at the end, "kinetic" with its industrial noises, and "For to End Yet Again" with its long ambiant part. The songs are heavy, but there is mostly clean singing, which usually has some good melodies. There is also some eerie "evil circus" melodies that Arcturus does best. I don't know if you would exactly call this black metal, maybe some form of more melodic, alternative, experimental black metal. Regardless, if you're into Scandinavian metal, this should be a CD that belongs in your collection. You can download "Star-Crossed" at the label's website. It should give you a general understanding of what most of the songs are like, and if you like it you'll like the rest of the album.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
This will take you to another world26 octobre 2006
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This, is easily in my top 15 albums of all time. This is beautiful, neo-classical Black Metal. While I always enjoyed Arcturus, this album took them to a new level, that few bands have even come close to reaching. The futuristic atmosphere/lyrics really seperate this band from the crowd. Plus, having members of Mayhem/Kovenant/Thorns/Ulver can't really hurt you when it comes to getting noticed. The reason I began investigating this band was Hellhammer, he is my favorite drummer period. His work on here is magical. Not as fast as later Mayhem but so well put together, he really sparks here. The keyboards here, are nothing short of beautiful. Sometimes they are in front of everything and they are the most powering insturment at the moment. Then other times, they blend in with the rest, to create something much bigger than itsself. Then, the almost classical guitar riffs will impress any musician and non musician alike.
This was definetly a departure for Arcturus, compared to the last few albums they released (and its a WHOLE different band from their Death Metal roots) As geeky as this sounds, it almost has an outerspace type vibe to it. Mostly because of Johnsen, whos magic behind the keys is hard to be matched (i.e Kinetic, Star-crossed, and For To End Yet Again) Also, you will notice the lyrical content, reflects the new found neo-classical outerspace vibe of this album. Much different than the anti Christian lyrics they had in years now passed. If you love the atmosphere that bands like Nokturnal Mortum, Anthems era Emperor and Limbonic Art then i'm sure you will definetly find enjoyment in this album.
Another positive for this album, is the vocals. They are all clean and Rex does not hold back like I felt he may have (even just a little) on previous Arcturus releases. now, it would be just as interesting to hear this with the dark normal vocals of Black Metal but I feel the singing adds to the beauty which Hellhammer(drums, Johnsen (keyboards), Valle (guitars) and Gravem(bass) create. It all comes together as a whole to create the magnum opus for Arcturus. TO further my point, everything balances itsself out. You don't feel like one thing is stronger than the other. Everything is well balanced and everybody in the group seemed to be on the same wave length. I can't say that one played better than the other here as everything is equal as could be. This is definetly recommended for any Arcturus fan.
1. "Kinetic" (G., Johnsen, Rex) - 5:25
One of my favorite songs ever by any band. The guitars just plays this beautiful riff in the intro, to be added is Rex's beautiful vocals. Then they welcome you and the journey begins.....This is definetly the best example of everything playing off each other, one minute there is beautiful atmosphere literally dripping from the keyboards which slips perfectly into another amazing riff. Another reason I love this song, is that after the intro of this song plays out, Rex's vocals almost seem under water and then they explode in perfection. As Rex sings with melancholy the last few vocal lines, the beautiful keyboards in the final moments announce the departure of this amazing piece known as "Kinetic"
2. "Nightmare Heaven" (G., Johnsen, Rex) - 6:05
There is little to be asked from this song, simply because it gives it to you within the first minute. Unlike the previous song, there is no waiting no anticipation as it starts going full speed from the start. I personally really enjoy the atmosphere from the bridge in this song, it follows more beautiful keyboards and it is almost an industrial type feel. It slowed the song down to a halt until exploding into a classical riff. The best part of this song though, has to be the final 90 seconds, between Rex's high vocals and the guitars/keyboards almost in a race together, blending speed and beauty into each other. You couldn't ask for much more as the heavy outro fades.
3. "Ad Absurdum" (G., Johnsen, Rex) - 6:48
The first thing I noticed here, was the violins at the intro, Th seem to almost bounce. I don't really like Rex's vocals at the start of this song, he seems to drag them on a little too long. After a moment of spoken word, this problem is fixed and I really like the riff that follows, definetly Black Metal influenced. It continues throughout a good portion of the song, just at different speeds.While this is not one of my favorite songs, it is still a wonderful song driven by the keyboard outro and the riffs.
The shortest song here, is also the fastest. A quick violin intro, is soon followed by Hellhammer giving an incredible performance behind the kit. This in my opinion, might be his best work here. The keyboards here are fast as well. There is not one dull moment in this song. The keyboards blend perfectly here. At the two minute mark, it does slow down (for a minute or so). The keyboards turn to almost that of a childs music box and it almost sounds disturbing. Before your thrown back to reality by Rex's vocals.
5. "Star-Crossed" (G., Johnsen, Rex) - 5:01
The closest thing to topping Kinetic in my eyes. The keyboards here flow together well and are very classical. The type of ting you never want to stop and they seem to get darker as Johnsen goes on before they speed up and you really see how amazing Johnsen is at what he does. My jaw was dropping as I heard him. Then it drops and Rex doesn't sing per say but almost spoken word but not quite. Then his vocals really kick in at about the same time as Johnsen's keyboards return. No offense to the rest of the band but this is Johnsen's song, plain and simple. He shines here.
6. "Radical Cut" (H., Hellhammer, Johnsen) - 5:08
Ihsahn!! The only Black Metal vocals are given by one of the best. Ihsahn of Emperor. This is definetly an interesting song as the riffs and keyboards that have made this album so great thus far are present, yet the keyboards seem Emperor influenced from the start and Hellhammer definetly was prepared as he gives an amazing performance. Him and Ihsahn work well together. The keyboards near the end, actually seem electronical if you listen careful enough. All in all, an amazing performance.
7. "For to End Yet Again" (G., Johnsen, Rex) - 10:33
The first few mintues of this long farewell, had me asking what is this trash....as the keyboards in the intro just seemed dumb, boring and cheesy but little did I know, how beautiful this song would turn out to be. First off Rex gives his best vocal performance and so does Johnsen (yes even topping star-crossed) with such a beautiful atmosphere of perseverance I was shocked as I sat listening to this. This was something so special that no generic trash band could ever come close to doing something this beautiful. then comes an epic outro and then nothing.....
In conclusion, Arcturus has delivered an amazing, atmospheric and beautiful Metal album. For any fan who enjoys Opeth, Limbonic Art, Emperor, Nokturnal Mortum and Abyssos. Enjoy
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The masters of experimental metal do it again19 avril 2002
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I think that this is Arcturus' best album by far. It takes the complexity, innovative sound from La Masquerade Infernale, and extracts all teh silly goofy aspects. They've gotten back to their black metal roots a little bit, but only one song has "dirty" vocals, and they don't try to be scary. Which is always anoying in a metal band, imho. Multiple listens will bear new appreciation for each song, and it's one of the few cds that, while being a good listen, is actually NOT BORING to listen to! A must have for anyone who remotely likes swedish metal, but without all the satanic silliness.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Progressive Black Metal from Norway20 mars 2005
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Norwegian Black Metal band Arcturus (originally Death Metal and named Mortem) was formed in 1987 and became Arcturus in 1990. Founding members consisted of Steinar (Sverd) Johnsen (guitar), Jan Axel (Hellhammer) Blomberg (drums)and Marius Vold (bass). In 1993 Sverd also a capable keyboardist laid down his axe and returned to his primary instrument - keyboards. With the addition of a vocalist and another guitar player the band was finally complete and they released their first studio album, Aspera Hiems Symphonia in 1994. I listened to this album once and it was still too extreme to appeal to me. Subsequently they released La Masquerade Infernale in late 1996. Many people think this is Arcturus's best album but it doesn't really appeal to me.
After apparently taking their time Arturus released Sham Mirrors in 2002 to critical acclaim. This is a very interesting journey into Progressive Black Metal. In the previous two albums the music was consistently dark. Arcturus really changed their sound on Sham Mirrors providing extensive use of keyboards including some solos and a lighter faster edge. The music is quite varied from song to song and is diverse enough and spontaneous enough to be appreciated by fans of everything from Jazz through Progressive rock to Black Metal. No promises now but if you like to experiment Sham Mirrors may be up your alley.
Sham Mirrors opens with "Kinetic" a frantic heavy beat number whose limited vocals sound distant at first like somebody singing under water. The pace is medium but varied with some sound effects and some nifty keyboards. This is followed by "Nightmare Heaven" a sinister song that sounds like it should have been created by Nine Inch Nails', Trevor Reznor with some heavy syncopated drum beats and a most unusual sounding lengthily guitar and keyboard bridge. The vocals are also passionate making this is a gem that I would consider one of the best songs I own. This is followed by "Ad Absurdum", another busy medium fast paced, frantic sounding song, however the second half slows down, is only instrumental and is even a little ethereal sounding.
Collapse Generation is a fast paced frantic instrumental with one slow interlude in it, followed by another goody in "Star-crossed" which opens with a strong piano solo segueing into the main atmospheric varied tempo song with reverberated vocals and strong performances on drums guitar and piano. The music somewhat discordant, transcends sanity and sounds like it belongs on a Devil doll album. The madness continues with "Radical Cut", a frenetic high speed piece where the singing duties are usurped by Emperor lead singer Ihsahr who growls forth in his inimitable Death Metal style.
Lastly, we have another jewel in the ten and a half minute "For To End Yet Again". It starts sedately with a synth and xylophone deferring after forty or so seconds to a milder version of the previous songs, then an excellent piano rendition, leading into a atmospheric central portion. At about six and a half minutes it finishes with a flourish when to beat picks up and the vocalist, Trickster joins in.
Although I'm not gushing over it, I thought SHAM MIRRORS deserved 4 stars because of its uniqueness and originality. I also liked the extensive use of piano as I gravitate to keyboards. This is a solid recording with excellent performances around. Also the singer Trickster's vocals really fit the music well.
There was also something about Arcturus that reminded me of something but I couldn't put my finger on it until it hit me a couple days ago. Arcturus could be a modern day version of Emerson Lake and Palmer. For those of you who don't know who E.L.P. is, they were sort of an eclectic neo-classical group from the 70s. Of course the music is not the same but the similarities are striking. Perhaps E.L.P. were their idols or something. Anyway, as with E.L.P., Arcturus is a good listen, that seems to get better as you listen to it more. Final Rating 4.35 Stars.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Sometimes change is for the better (as in The Sham Mirrors)18 janvier 2004
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Before I start with the review for The Sham Mirrors, let me point out that the only other Arcturus CD I own is Aspera Hiems Symfonia, which is a fairly good album. I first heard it about two years ago and thought it was a much needed change the black metal genre needed. But to put it frankly it didn't me make me go out and pick up the rest of their catalog right away. I thought they were a good band, especially for a black metal band, since as opposed to expressing single-minded fury and having your singer scream at the top of his lungs, they knew to keep things well-balanced. The songwriting seemed their strongest aspect. Anyway now that I've obtained a copy of The Sham Mirrors, their last album as I type this review, I think over the years there has been a lot of change in the band's musical approach. Both musically and production wise. I can understand why some die-hard black metal fans don't like this one as Arcturus have moved away from their black metal roots aiming to cover some new ground. Apart from "Radical Cut" which features Emperor singer Ihsahn there are no scream vocals on this CD. Sure lots of bands have changed their style for the worse; even bands like Ulver and Samael's current endeavours don't appeal to me much compared with their earlier work, but for some reason, I consider Arcturus' new style very fresh and very progressive. And I think The Sham Mirrors is a fantastic effort in the way that it offers so many new musical ideas without overusing them. There are a wide range of ingredients available on this disc, and it's just brilliant. Although the band has shifted towards a more progressive style, dropping some of their earlier black metal characteristics, they are not afraid to borrow some key elements from the genre. The drumming is still very fiery, fast, and relentless at times, just the way black metal drumming should be. The keyboards (and piano) never fail to provide the evil atmosphere without getting too over the top. Actually the keyboard textures and song arrangements are what make this CD so special. I really like the classical background the keyboard player possesses; strange but it reminds me of the stuff Wakeman would play on some of his solo albums. The band has employed liberal keys which serve to maintain the dark atmosphere and keep things in unity. The guitar work is pushed slightly in the back but it is vastly audible when necessary. The solos in songs like "Nightmare Heaven" and "Star-Crossed" are spectacular! They are accompanied perfectly by the drums and mostly by keys almost through the entire CD. The vocals are mostly clear but Garm also uses his semi-operatic vocals which serve his purpose flawlessly. Furthermore the singing on this album is used just as another instrument. They sure have their own place and are used only when necessary. Arcturus have decided to let their music speak on The Sham Mirrors and use vocal harmonies only when need be. "Radical Cut" is by far the fastest and most aggressive song on the album with Ihsahn's high screams dominating. A great song that marks the band's black metal moment. This is a bold attempt on the band's part to show everyone that they haven't forgotten who they are. It's just that they don't want to repeat themselves and move forward. The last song "For to End Yet Again" is also the longest and most avante garde composition. There's a quite long piano section in the middle that makes you think it will be the outro but the song gains momentum again as the guitars and drums enter with a nice dual attack. Most black metal purists probably hate this disc because it doesn't sound evil and primitive enough as most Norwegian bands did back in the mid-90's. Well yes it does not. The production is crystal clear, just as it should be, since this is more of a prog album borrowing various elements from tons of genres. If you like this kind of stuff you're going to dig The Sham Mirrors. It's an album that branches away from the typical black metal norm and differs from any other CD that's been released in recent years.