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Arcturus - Aspera Hiems Symfonia CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.80 | 95 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I'm not a fan of death metal or growling, so I shouldn't review an album like this, but a friend suggested Arcturus to me and even if not my genre I have to recognize that there's a lot of music between a scream and another.

Yes, I don't like growling when it's not functional to a song, and in most of the cases here, it's not an instrument and in general doesn't add much to the songs but with some exceptions.

The music behind the growl is absolutely not bad. The instrumental parts are very dark and this is not a defect. Music has to transmit sensations. When it happens, even if the sensations are dark, it's always a good thing.

On tracks like "Wintry Grey", which have different singing styles and many instrumental parts the growling is not disturbing. This is a track on which it's functional.

It's not the same on "Whence & Wither Goest the Wind". This song has an "Ayreon" flavour and the growling on the celtic part is everything but functional. Left instrumental it would have been a great track. Some of the screams are a bit more appropriate. In that cases the creams are used like an additional instrument. This is what I mean for "functional" or not.

"Raudt Og Svart" has the same problem. The growl is just disturbing. The music is great and the choir is dark enough, without having to scream. After some listens I've been more used to the growled parts but I still think that it's a pity that a band sacrifices good and well played music only to be comformant to a standard. The guitar solo has much of Artension, too.

Same story with "The Bodkin and the Quietus". This is a "standardised" track. Not bad when it's instrumental, but there's plenty of metal like this around the world.

"Du Nordavin" is a good song on which the growl is not disturbing, but the choir is really better. I have to confess that I like it. It has a baroque flavour and the "waltz" part makes it grotesque. The frequent changes makes it very interesting. More of this, please.

"Fall of Man" is similar to the previous one. Its darkness is enhanced by the "classical" contaminations more than by the few growled sentences about Fairy Tales and Dying Flowers. It's a sad waltz with a good guitar performance.

"Naar Kuda Tar" is the even darker closer. It starts with a (military?) march, a choir and then the usual growling. A pity again. It doesn't add anything to a track that is not bad at all.

I must be honest and try to be "neutral" in order to rate this album. It's not my pot but it has moments that are good to me too, so it can have the third star. I'll likely need more time to get used to this genre, if I'll ever wish to, but this is my problem only. I think 3 stars are a honest rating.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |


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