Saturday 16 May 2015

Arcturus - Arcturian (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 11/05/2015
Label: Prophecy

‘Arcturian’ CD//DD//LP track Listing:

1). The Arcturian Sign
2). Crashland
3). Angst
4). Warp
5). Game Over
6). Demon
7). Pale
8). The Journey
9). Archer
10). Bane

Arcturus is:

Simen "ICS Vortex" Hestnæs | VOCALS
Steinar "Sverd" Johnsen | KEYBOARDS
Knut Magne Valle | GUITAR
Hugh "Skoll" Mingay | BASS
Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg | DRUMS


Arcturus, spawned in 1987 and known early on as a black metal supergroup (Vortex of Dimmu Borgir, Borknagar, Lamented Souls – Hellhammer of Mayhem, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir – Garm of Ulver, Borknagar – and Samoth of Satyricon, Mayhem, Zyklon-B, Emperor, Burzum) Arcturus has had many lineup changes over the years due to members being active with other projects, and eventually broke up in 2007. Luckily this surreal act reunited in 2011 to play a handful of shows and festivals and went on to record the album at hand.

‘Arcturian’ the fifth studio album by the Norwegian avant-garde metal band Arcturus, is by far THE most original album I've ever heard. This is common place for Arcturus, as they have always incorporated as many different elements as possible in their music. Released on May 11 2015, this is their first album in a decade and I hope it’s not their last.

The number of influences on this record is immense. Traces of classical, polka, noir, fusion, black metal, power metal, and many more can all be found on this album. Vocally, among the peppered black metal roots, there are traces of middle eastern scales, clean harmonies, and several other influences including TOOL as one of the more obvious. The harmonies alone seem to come at the listener from all directions, adding to the intense psychedelic atmosphere. The guitar work is very intricate yet not too forward in the mix, which blends quite well with the orchestra. The drums are as technical as they are groovy, showcasing lightning speed and well placed articulation as well as strange syncopated rhythms, and even some fusion jazz. There are also very noticeable electronic elements...not quite on the dubstep side...but also not too far off. On ‘The Journey’, you can hear these elements mixed in with some acoustic guitar work and orchestral textures that create a truly surreal setting.

For the open minded listener, this would be a great addition to your music catalog. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but after listening all the way through it really surprised me. Putting this album on is like taking 10 hits of LSD (Trust me, I've been there) and will certainly leave you feeling strange and uncertain of what you just experienced. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you. With such a range of influences and complete disregard for boundaries from one song to the next, there should be at least one song that speaks to all types of metal heads.

Words by: Joel Wallis

‘Arcturian’ is available here

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