When looking back at 2015, the only thing that seems to matter is the passing of Lemmy Kilmister. Of course losing Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor in November was sad but Lemmy was on another level – one of the pillars of the entire rock ‘n roll universe. Thankfully, he left a voluminous legacy for us to enjoy for eternity, including some of music’s best interviews and quotes possible. Cheers, Lemmy.
Other than that, 2015 was a remarkably strong year for the pioneering, long-running bands in the metal scene. Everyone from KILLING JOKE, MY DYING BRIDE, FEAR FACTORY to AMORPHIS put out fantastic records. This past year also saw some very good super groups in TAU CROSS and FIRESPAWN make their debuts. You’ll find that many of them made it to our respective lists.
Additionally, we’ve recruited some fresh blood in Charles Elliott, Andrew Sample, and Jeff Wagner. These industry vets have been in the trenches with us for years and years, and have helped bring you many of the greatest records ever released for the past 20+ years. Continue reading →
The last time ARCTURUS released new music, they were not at the top of their game. Sideshow Symphonies was simply not on par with the band’s previous releases. Ten years later, we have Arcturian and a band that sounds creatively refreshed. Arcturian is unequivocally better than its predecessor and brings ARCTURUS back on track with some of their best material to date.
The album is sharp, direct, and wastes no time with meandering. The symphonic elements, the space/prog rock elements, subtle dark electronic influences, and the black metal roots meld together wonderfully. There are song sections and entire songs that exemplify the band’s previous albums as well as new elements brought to the table.
“Crashland” sounds like the stepchild of La Masquerade Infernale with its string arrangements and atmosphere. “Angst” has the glacier-sized keyboards of the band’s early releases with a ferocity not heard since “Radical Cut” featuring Ihsahn. “Warp” is archetypal ARCTURUS with spacey synth, solemn pianos, and non-stop pulsing energy. “Demon” sounds like DEPECHE MODE – in a good way. “The Journey” is new territory with its new age feel. It starts out with electronic beat and violins before segueing with acoustic guitars and ghostly vocals sweeping in and out. “Bane” closes out Arcturian with a strange space carnival caravan, which fits their onstage presentation. It’s also one of the weakest songs on Arcturian.
As far as performances go, the band are at the top of their game. Co-founding member Hellhammer is as godly as he always is. Other co-founding member Sverd dazzles and shows why he is the most legendary synth player in the Norwegian metal scene. Knut Magne Valle‘s first take-improvised guitar solos are perfect. ICS Vortex may be the only one to take a hit for some of his vocal lines. They can come off as off key here and there. But to his credit, he does sing his ass off and sounds good for the most part.
Arcturian is not perfect but overall, it’s a strong return to form. There is a lot to love about it. Welcome back, ARCTURUS. (Prophecy Productions)
Prophecy Productions feel honoured and are excited to welcome ARCTURUS to its artist roster. The first mutual work will be ARCTURUS‘ fifth full-length studio album, Arcturian, which is scheduled for release on May 8th, 2015. Pre-order for all physical products (ltd. 2CD hardcover book, ltd. Gatefold LP, ltd. box sets, Digipak CD) is available now at en.prophecy.de/shop/arcturus-arcturian.html.
ICS Vortex on behalf of ARCTURUS says: “A new chapter, and a new prophetic partner…We are star tripping psyched to be releasing ‘Arcturian‘ soon!”
ARCTURUS line-up 2015:
Simen “ICS Vortex” Hestnæs – vocals
Steinar “Sverd” Johnsen – keyboards
Knut Magne Valle – guitar
Hugh “Skoll” Mingay – bass
Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg – drums
ARCTURUS plan to make a short tour of European venues between 2nd – 10th May 2015. All dates will be announced next week.
Further European club shows and festivals will be announced later in the year and the band will also perform at Maryland Deathfest, Maryland, USA on 23rd of May 2015 , with extra South American dates to be announced shortly.
After releasing his latest full length solo album Incomprehensible on The End Records in January 2013, ANDY WINTER (WINDS, AGE OF SILENCE, SCULPTURED) now returns with his first ever music video; an artistic collaboration by various talents in the realm of music, film and fashion.
Musically speaking, “Uncountably Infinite” is a stylistic departure from Andy Winter’s usual style of subdued and progressive art-rock. The sound takes on a more metallic edge with harsher and rougher tones, featuring a crunchy wall of guitars courtesy of Andy Winter himself, complimented by the vocals of Mirai Kawashima (SIGH), bass playing of Jason William Walton (AGALLOCH, SCULPTURED), drumming of Jan Axel von Blomberg AKA Hellhammer (WINDS, MAYHEM, ARCTURUS), and guitar solo by Donald Anderson (AGALLOCH, SCULPTURED).
Starring in the video is actress and burlesque dancer Tristan Risk, most recently featured in the cult horror film “American Mary” by The Soska Sisters.
Keyboardist/composer Andy Winter of WINDS and AGE OF SILENCE fame has a new solo album, Incomprehensible, which is available now via The End records. The album features an impressive roster of guest vocalists from MADDER MORTEM, AGALLOCH, GREEN CARNATION, EDGE OF SANITY, PECCATUM, BORKNAGAR, NOVEMBERS DOOM, and WINDS.
Also appearing are Jan Axel von Blomberg aka Hellhammer (MAYHEM, WINDS), Carl August Tidemann (WINDS, ex-ARCTURUS), Øystein Moe (WINDS, ex-ULVER), Don Anderson (AGALLOCH,SCULPTURED) and Mike Young (THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT).
Having continued his approach of always applying a very genre-defying style, “Incomprehensible” is yet another unmistakable and unique record from Andy Winter, and one that provides a different experience altogether when compared to anything else in metal, or indeed most music.
For today’s Song of the Day, let us revisit one of the greatest underground metal bands of all time, ARCTURUS. Back in 1994, the band released the Constellation EP via guitarist Samoth‘s Nocturnal Art Productions. Simply a groundbreaking piece of Norwegian symphonic black metal. Absolutely mandatory.
ICS Vortex, former DIMMU BORGIR and current BORKNAGAR and ARCTURUS member, has announced that his debut solo album, Storm Seeker, will be released on August 22nd, 2011 in Europe and August 23rd, 2011 in North America via Century Media Records.
BORKNAGAR has announced that former vocalist ICS Vortex has returned to the band as bassist/vocalist. He will be sharing vocal duties with vocalist Vintersorg. The band plan to headline this year’s Inferno Festival in Norway, which was founded by BORKNAGAR guitarist, Jens Ryland.
Norway’s ARCTURUS have officially announced their disbandment via a post on their official website reading:
“A lot of rumours have been going around after our gig in Melbourne. Simen [Haestnes, vocals] opened the concert with the words ‘Welcome to the last ARCTURUS-show ever’. This is a decision we made some time ago. We all have a lot of things going on in our carreers and our lives, and therefore can not find the time to continue working with this band.
“We are humble and grateful to all the people that have supported and loved us over the years.”
ARCTURUS had an illustrious career pushing musical boundries. Their last album, Sideshow Symphonies, was released in 2005.