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Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.15 | 209 ratings

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5 stars So what do you get when you make an all-star metal band with members from extreme black metal groups such as Ulver, Emperor and Mayhem? You get a symphonic avant-prog band of course. This album surely was a big surprise when I first listened to it since I expected something brutal and very extreme but the only thing that came true was that it was extremely good, much better than I would ever come to expect from a super group. The music is pretty hard to describe but I must say they venture into any corner within metal and far beyond that since there are hints of electronics and just classical piano as well. Most of the songs on the sham mirrors are mini-epics that just fly around styles and are all very original in their own. Although there isn't a lot of repetition, the pieces in the songs certainly don't feel like parts that are just thrown into a mix but every second adds something here and every song feel likes one.

One thing I must mention about this album that the vocals are beyond words here. The statement I am going to state is a big one but I'm fully behind it in every sense. The vocals sung by Trickster G. Rex by Ulver on the Sham Mirrors are without a doubt the most beautiful and best vocals I have ever encountered on any metal album. Garm just sings like he is completely broke loose from reality as he experiments a lot with strange melodies and yes, he hit those high notes perfectly. Ihsahn from Emperor delivers some harsh vocals as well on the sixth track and yes he too sounds perfect. He makes the album even more diverse and a lot more extreme as well which is always a good thing for me.

So all in all, we find the almost perfect album in the sham mirrors. There is a lot of good instrumentation but it isn't all Dream Theater wankery; it all adds to the melodies and sounds of the album. Everyone in this album get a change to shine but no one is really any better than the other on his instrument although I still must say that I most of all enjoy the vocal performance which is, you must belief me here, beyond words like I have already said.

Written for

Jochem | 5/5 |


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