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Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors CD (album) cover

THE SHAM MIRRORS

Arcturus

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.14 | 168 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I purchased The Sham Mirrors in 2007, long after its original release, due to all the praise that the band and particularly this release have received on Prog Archives and a few other websites. Unfortunately I haven't actually listened to this album since the first few spins which might imply exactly how I feel about this material.

Being a metal fan ever since I can remember I'm always on the lookout for the next best artist or band to completely mesmerize me with their music. This is of course not an easy task to achieve considering that the more music I consume the harder my shell becomes. First off, let me state that this particular record is not even close to the level that I consider to be adequate for being labeled as a Tech/Extreme Prog Metal release. This might not apply to the rest of Arcturus' discography but, to me, The Sham Mirrors sounds more like a mix between Progressive and Power Metal in a similar style as Kamelot or even Symphony X, but now I've really stretching it! What I mean is that the technicality that this band depicts here doesn't nearly reach the levels of even those shown by Opeth.

The album begins with Kinetic which to me sound more like a warm-up to the the later compositions. There are a few moments hinting a bit too much at Power Metal but the Pain Of Salvation-sounding lead melody actually makes for a enjoyable experience even though the effects added to vocals seem unnecessary. The music takes a turn for the worse with Nightmare Heaven. This composition just screams of typical Scandinavian metal-by-numbers performance with completely forgettable riffs and melodies. Fortunately the middle section of the track saves it from a complete disaster featuring some unexpected groove moments that hint at what the last track will have in store.

The next two tracks don't get any better, especially Collapse Generation which in my opinion sounds like pure power metal with a lot of shredding. Star-Crossed is where the band finally starts to be get creative with their music resulting in a crazy mix between Space Rock and Tech Metal marking the definite highlight of the entire album. Radical Cut is easily this album's darkest moment featuring Power Metal sounding intro with growl vocals and first signs of technicality that I expected from this release. The 10+ minute For To End Yet Again takes up almost a forth of this album's space and it definitely justifies to be called progressive since the journey the listener undertakes here would make the Prog Gods happy. I'll leave out the details since I don't want to spoil it too much.

The Sham Mirrors doesn't really deserve the reputation that it has accumulated over the years due to some really generic moments on the album's first side and although the rest does manage to make up for the sloppy beginnings there's just no way I can go beyond the good, but non-essential rating.

**** star songs: Kinetic (5:26) Star-Crossed (5:01) Radical Cut (5:08) For To End Yet Again (10:33)

*** star songs: Nightmare Heaven (6:05) Ad Absurdum (6:48) Collapse Generation (4:13)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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