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Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.15 | 209 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
3 stars If there's anything extreme about this album it's in being extremely bombastic and extremely old-fashioned. And that after less then 10 years....

The early 00's saw some strange production values entering the metal world. Everything couldn't sound BIG enough: big reverbed drums, monumental guitar sounds, layers of symphonic keyboards, hugely resonating vocals. The works. The problem is that by making everything sound so huge, the impact doesn't last longer then 5 minutes and as soon as these have passed, the music simply washes over you without making any impact at all.

Especially the drums are a massacre and don't even reach the impact that my little niece could produce on a toy-drumset: just one watery splash after the other. The songwriting isn't any better neither, although it could have been more enjoyable if everything had had a bit more edge to it. As it stands, everything sounds quite similar to Dimmu Borgir, but without the growls (except for track 6 where Ihsahn guests). The synths come even more prominently to the fore then with Dimmu Borgir, but IMO they don't add anything progressive to this album. They just try to distract from the fairly basic songwriting that sits underneath.

I haven't found any reason why this album reached such popularity other then suiting the taste of the day. With some notable exceptions, I have the impression that many metal releases from the end of the 90s/early 00s lacked in power and inspiration (especially when compared to the early 90s). The fact that a band like Arcturus, that had so little on offer, could pass as a progressive act only strengthens that impression.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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