ARCTURUS – The Sham Mirrors

After five long years of waiting, the new album is finally here. Much has changed with the band since their avant-garde masterpiece, La Masquerade Infernale. The band no longer features the talents of Simen Hestnaes aka ICS Vortex (vocals/songwriting contribution) and Carl August Tidemann (lead guitars). The Sham Mirrors is a more straight-forward, concentrated, and streamlined record than La Masquerade Infernale. It seemed that on the last album, the band was pulling out all the stops and going into a totally new realm of extreme music. Gone are the theatrics and highly intricate arrangements and orchestration. The Sham Mirrors is more aggressive, heavy, and black metal. The band draws upon the sounds of their previous releases as well as incorporating new ones. Trickster G. Rex’s vocals are absolutely stunning. The new vocal skills that were demonstrated on ULVER’s Perdition City are here along with falsettos. Only Devin Townsend can match his vocal talents. Trickster G. Rex’s also written some of the best lyrics in recent memory. They are philosophical, profound, and cleverly written. There aren’t too many Metal bands out there with lyrics worth reading. Steiner Sverd Johnsen, composer of The Sham Mirrors, demonstrates why he is the best keyboardist in extreme metal. His keyboard work is absolutely amazing. Hellhammer once again shows why he is perhaps the greatest drummer of his generation. His drumming is a defining piece of the ARCTURUS sound. Ihsahn’s lead vocal contribution to the song “Radical Cut” is simply awesome. To hear perhaps, the single great musician in Norwegian Black Metal play with the greatest Avant-Garde Metal band is quite a special moment. The Sham Mirrors carries such a weight of emotion. It pulls one in during the course of the album. ARCTURUS walk their own path. It’s clear that they don’t care for the expectations or standards set by anyone except their own. (The End Records)

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