Monday, May 31, 2010
Arcturus was a lightning strike on the metal world. It his, there massive and unique sound rumbled forth, and then they were gone having left their mark on the world. The sad truth is that we will likely never see another band like them again because the world of music seems to have a thing against individuality. These were my thoughts while sitting here and writing this review. Sham Mirrors was my first Arcturus album, it grabbed and pushed me to look further into their discography and continues to this day to remind me of why Arcturus was such a beast in the metal world.
Arcturus's music has always been of a diverse sort. With each new release they seem to take sounds and styles from all over and incorporate them into their own music to create something that is at times familiar but also entirely there own. The one thing that stands out with this release when compared with their others is the shift in focus to a more progressive sound with a sci-fi theme wrapped around it that helps to create some entirely unique soundscapes where you will never hear the same thing twice.
The one thing that I stress is that, as with every other release by the band, you need to come into it with an open mind. This is not a group that is content with one specific sound and they are more then willing to switch it up between styles to fit whatever mood that they are trying to create. Examples of this are the songs Radical cut which shows evidence of symphonic black metal that hearkens back to their first full length as well as bits of electronica and progressive. It is also the only track to feature screaming because of there now almost complete focus on clean vocals. Then there are songs like Ab Absurden which is almost strictly Avant Gard with bits of progressive thrown in for good measure. You never know what you are going to get with this album and I'm not going to spoil it for you. If you like how things sound so far I recommend grabbing this immediately.
The diversity in the songs brings me to another bit about this release that I really enjoy. Every song feels like it's own tightly made experience with it's own ups and downs. You never get that feeling that you have heard this before and you always know exactly what song you are listening to. The only time you will be lost is when you are being mesmerized by an amazing solo, check out "For To End Again, or when you are mentally swimming through a haunting atmospheric section as in "Nightmare Heaven" but then, it's a very good thing to be. As long as you are open to many different types of metal and music period, you will always be having a good time.
If you want a few tracks to listen to to see if The Sham Mirrors is worth your cash here are a few I recommend; "Kinetic" because of the excellent opening and it's general showcase of the huge scope and sound that the band brings to the table. I also recommend Nightmare Heaven because of the great atmosphere that it creates and "For To End Again" for basically giving you a bit of everything that makes this album a joy to listen to again and again.
There you have it, if you are a fan of many different types of metal or are just a metal fan period you owe it to yourself to at least give this a chance to sink in. It is a fun and varied listen that will give you back much more then you will have to give. I found absolutely no fault in it and really do think that in time this will be seen as a classic. Download it, buy it, borrow it, the fact is is that if you are a metal fan then you need to sit down, shut up, and listen.
(so what did you think of my first review? I haven't written one in a long time and want to become a music journalist so it would be really helpful if someone could give me some tips.)