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Arcturus - Constellation CD (album) cover



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Trickster F.
2 stars Get the Aspera Heims Symfonia/Constellation/My Angel compilation, which has a much improved sound quality, all songs from the earliy three albums and, in addition, some of the parts of the songs sound different. Moreover, I don't suppose you'll find this rare EP anywhere for a normal price, so save your money and get the above-mentioned compilation instead.

The first song here is Raudt Og Svart and it should be familiar to many people who haven't heard Constellation, because it appeared on Aspera... as well, and has been their classic live set encore number since the group started performing. It's a great song, but I simply can not refuse to compare it to the Aspera... version. This early recording has no bass lines whatsoever(which made the song much more epic later on), Garm's vocals are more flat and week - instead of the great balance between extreme, powerful shrieking and great clean vocals we are awarded with the "grim" atmospheric Burzum-esque type of vocals that sounds out of place on the album. Some of the best parts of the song are inaudible, which is also not very good if you have got used to listening to the later version. Icebound Streams And Vapours Grey is what would later become Wintry Grey, and is also a weaker, horribly-produced early version of its worthy successor. Near Kulda Tar, on the other hand, doesn't sound too different from the old version and is a good number. Du Nordavind, an amazing underrated Arcturus, with its spacey keyboards and atmosphere, is the highlight of the album, but still worse than the later version.

Before judging this album, it also helps to remember its historical importance in the year 1994. Nobody except Arcturus played this incredibly progressive kind of Black Metal. They have already found their exclusive original style here, which couldn't be said about My Angel(perhaps the scariest EP ever). The group would eventually release Aspera... and become one of the essential projects in the world of Progressive Music. However, despite its importance, there is nothing exclusive to be found on this release - if you have Aspera... on your hands, you are already familiar with the four songs here.

Only for collectors.

Report this review (#74264)
Posted Friday, April 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Constellation" is a pre-album EP release by Norwegian black metal act Arcturus. "Constellation" is a 4 track EP. All four tracks would later appear in re-recorded versions on the 1996 debut album by Arcturus: "Aspera Hiems Symfonia" ("Icebound Streams And Vapours Gray" would be re-named "Wintry Grey"). The EP was released in 1994 through Nocturnal Art Productions and was in it´s original form limited to 500 copies. The material from "Constellation" have been re-released on the "Aspera Hiems Symfonia/Constellation/My Angel (2002)" compilation album. The lineup for the EP consists of Steinar Sverd Johnsen (Keyboards), Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg (vocals), Thomas Thormodsćter Haugen aka Samoth (guitars) and Jan Axel Blomberg aka Hellhammer (drums). Members of such prolific Norwegian black metal acts as Emperor, Mayhem and Ulver.

The music on the EP is the first example of the symphonic and neo-classical influenced black metal that would later become a part of Arcturus sound. The music is predominantly keyboard driven, atmospheric, and symphonic black metal with both raspy and clean vocals. It is dominated by Steinar Sverd Johnsen´s keyboard playing and this is definitely music for those who enjoy their black metal with lots of keyboards and neo-classical influences. Arcturus music has as many similarities to neo-classical tinged power metal as it has to black metal.

The musicianship are on a good level but the sound production is a bit murky and to my ears not really up to professional standards. There are undeniably lots of promise on "Constellation" but the band still needed a couple of years of maturing and as the tracks have been both re-recorded and re-released in better versions and easier accessible formats this EP is very much a collector´s item and as the sound quality of the recording isn´t very high a 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#213743)
Posted Monday, May 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This EP changed a lot of the ground rules in the Norwegian black metal scene. A schism between the classic black metal bands (Gorgoroth, 1349 and Darkthrone) and the more melodic bands (Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus etc etc) was created with this EP.

This EP contains four songs. All of them was later re-released and re-recorded on their debut album. The versions on this EP is not that good compared to the album versions. The sound is muddy. The vocals are flat. The keyboards is far too overpowering. The music is epic black metal with too much keyboards, muddy guitars, no bass lines and a mix of clear and screaming vocals. The music is not that impressive. Only Du Nordavind is anywhere good. The rest of these songs are pretty bad.

This EP is pretty important in the history of black metal. Besides of that, the music is not impressive. This EP is only for those who everything.

2 stars

Report this review (#257468)
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Review Permalink

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