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Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.14 | 216 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Our eyes were removed...

Once again one cannot help but be in awe of the amazing vocal prowess possessed by one Garm/Trickster G. If the vocal harmonies of the album opener Kinetic do not raise the hairs on the back of your neck, it is perhaps best you find an alternative musical journey than waiting for the rest of this wonderful album to unfold. Less metallic than La Masquerade, but not as quirky as Disguised Masters, Sham Mirrors is another foray into avant-metal by Steinard Sverd Johnsen.

This album is easily the most melodious of the essential Arcturus records (this being the last one as of now) and at many times comes across more as a rock opera than a avant-metal experiment (see the end of Nightmare Heaven). As far as range and dynamics go, this is much more spacey/futuristic than previous releases, which at first I was hesitant to like, because that sort of style usually deters me. However, much of it is very tolerable and there are so many wonderful scenes that act almost like dream-like sequences. Take the end of Ad Absurdum, which sounds like a soundtrack from a Tim Burton movie. I wouldn't be surprised if the band derived much of there songwriting from Edward Scissorhands.

Radical Cut is easily the heavies piece here. It's the only part with black metal styled vocals, which really give it the only connection to some of the band's earlier works, otherwise one would assume it was an entirely different band. For to End Yet Again is the epic closer though I've never felt it acts like one. It is long, yes, but it doesn't have near the feel to it that you get out of most prog epics. Overall, this is a highly enjoyable album that I'd recommend to anyone familiar with prog-metal.

OpethGuitarist | 4/5 |


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