Album 0002: Arcturus – The Sham Mirrors

Release Date: 2002
Genre: Avant-garde Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Kinetic (05:26)
2. Nightmare Heaven (06:06)
3. Ad Absurdium (06:49)
4. Collapse Generation (04:13)
5. Star-Crossed (05:02)
6. Radical Cut (05:08)
7. For To End Yet Again (10:34)

Total Length: 43:18

This album is pretty unique, both in regards to most black metal and even in the band’s own catalog. Most vocals are clean, everything is produced very well, keyboards are abundant, and the lyrics mostly revolve around space and ideas about it. Kinetic is a fantastic opening track, for both the album and the band. Everything moves forward quickly and it’s never boring.

Nightmare Heaven is a good track, starting off strong, but I don’t really like the middle of the song. The end section is nearly rocking though, and the use of echoes/reverb is pretty cool. Ad Absurdium is probably one of the lesser songs on the album. It’s still well done, but I don’t really like the whole feel of the song. Collapse Generation is actually really cool because it’s mostly instrumental, I especially like the bell sounds.

Star-Crossed has a pretty neat rhythm going throughout out that I find very interesting. Radical Cut sets itself apart by using guest vocals from Ihsahn, best known as the vocalist for the band Emperor. It’s the only use of harsh vocals, and it still fits very well with the music. For To End Yet Again is the most ambitious track on here, starting with what sounds like a demonic circus of sorts. The middle instrumental goes through some varying changes, and reminds me at one point very strongly of some themes from Twin Peaks, but it’s not too long before we’re reminded what this band is really about. Just a very cool song overall.

Final Rating: 8/10

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