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Better Know A Band: Arcturus

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by Mosquito, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Mosquito

    Mosquito oh noes!!

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    Arcturus:

    Wiki Entry:

    Arcturus is a metal band formed in Norway in 1987 under the name Mortem.[citation needed] In 1990, the band changed their name to Arcturus (meaning Bear Guardian), after the Behenian fixed star Arcturus.

    The band released four official full-length albums. Arcturus has experimented throughout their career, extracting influences and incorporating elements from all over the musical spectrum including black metal and classical music, but the band was rooted as a metal outfit. On April 16, 2007, it was announced that the band would be breaking up, and more details were revealed in an official statement released on the band's website on April 17.

    The official statement was written by all of the band members, confirming rumours that had been circulating after their Melbourne concert, the last one of the Australian tour, in which Simen "Vortex" Hestnæs, the band's vocalist, introduced the show to the audience with the words "Welcome to the last Arcturus show- ever." The statement went on to say that the split was a 'decision we made some time ago,' and that because of ongoing 'things' in their careers and lives, the members could no longer 'find the time to continue working with this band.' The statement closed with a tribute to the fans of the band, "We are humble and grateful to all the people that have supported and loved us over the years."

    There are rumours circulating the internet that Arcturus may reform with Garm as the vocalist. Hellhammer has recently confirmed that an Arcturus reunion is inevitable, and that Garm has shown interest in participating. Furthermore, ICS Vortex has mentioned he plans to resurrect "a band or three" in a blog he posted shortly after being removed from Dimmu Borgir. Vortex has also stated on his myspace page that he was told by an alien that regarding an Arcturus reunion, 2011 is a lucky number.

    ICS Vortex confirmed an Arcturus reunion show at ProgPower USA 2011 Festival. In addiction, Vortex also said "Beloved freaks! ProgPower USA 2011 will host the first Arcturus concert in 5 years. This is our first performance in the United States, and since we`re all retarded, probably the last."

    Personal Take:
    I think I probably crapped myself when I saw the logo flash. Actually I know I did. For those who believe this band is more of a no-name, I don't believe you realize just how big this announcement is for Glenn. This has huge potential to help sell out this fest and very quickly too, so I wouldn't screw around this year on tickets.

    In the avant-garde/black metal scene, Arcturus is a huge name and the fact that this will be their only US show ever so far (and probably...forever), people will sell their children for this. Glenn spoke of reaching out into other sub-genre's while still staying true to the progpower name. This is one of the bands that Palabra De Dios and I have mentioned on many occassions that would really help sell out the fest, reach out into other areas, bring in new blood, etc. And a band that I would consider more progressive than any other band playing (and possibly more progressive than any band that has played). And I make a huge differentiation between progressive metal and prog metal, so don't get your panties in a wad for my last statement.

    At different points of the bands career, they've had members from bands such as Emperor, Spiral Architect, Dimmu Borgir, Ulver, Jorn, and Borknagar. Hooray Norway!

    To summarize, this is a huge announcement for Glenn and he knows it. I'm not one to kiss ass to anyone, but I will definitely give huge props to Glenn for this one and congratulate him on hosting this once in a lifetime chance to see this band. I cannot overstate how huge this is for him. I know others can back me up on this.


    Sounds like:
    Avant-Garde Black Metal (at least in spirit, not in production quality) with lots of clean vocals by Garm and Vortex (depending on the era). Garm heads up Ulver full-time these days, and Vortex just left Dimmu Borgir. If you've listened to Dimmu and heard the clean vocals, that's him. They're both very unique sounding singers. Each album is fairly unique and I can't say that anything is ever boring from them, but it does take some time usually to get into them.

    Discography at a Glance:

    Aspera Heims Symfonia - Atmospheric, Black Metal yet still managing to be different. One that I doubt most here will get into though.

    La Masquerade Infernale - Well regarded as their crowning achievement. This is where they really get a feel for their direction as a band. Clean vocals really take the lead on this one. Keyboard heavy. A rollercoaster of an album and at it's time was very innovative.

    The Sham Mirrors - Not quite up to par with LMI, but still really good. More catchy than LMI though. Losing more of the rough edges production-wise. Ihsahn does a guest appearance on Radical Cut. Ihsahn was a member of Emperor and now does his solo thing. The band that backs him is none other than Leprous! Oh Norway, you do amuse me.

    Sideshow Symphonies - ICS Vortex's debut as a full-time singer on the album (he previous guested on LMI on a few tracks). A really cool album, I enjoy it a bit more than The Sham Mirrors. Same production values as Sham. Kind of trippy.

    Quick Song Hitlist:

    Fall of Man (Aspera Hiems Symfonia)
    Wintry Grey (Aspera Hiems Symfonia)
    The Chaos Path (La Masquerade Infernale)
    Alone (La Masquerade Infernale)
    Ad Astra (La Masquerade Infernale)
    Kinetic (The Sham Mirrors)
    Ad Absurdum (The Sham Mirrors)
    Star Crossed (The Sham Mirrors)
    Hibernation Sickness Complete (Sideshow Symphonies)
    Demon Painter (Sideshow Symphonies)
    Nocturnal Vision Revisited (Sideshow Symphonies)
    Moonshine Delirium (Sideshow Symphonies)
    Hufsa (Sideshow Symphonies)

    Some Tube Links:













    Final Thoughts:

    This band won't be for everyone, but give it a chance and hopefully it will open up to you. They will be a treat to see, and I'd advise everyone to watch them simply for the fact that chances of ever seeing them again is pretty much zero. Try new things right? Maybe you'll be well on your way into finally buying that Emperor album you always wanted because the cover art was sweet!

    Their live DVD (Shipwrecked in Oslo) will be the best way to determine what they may play for us. Considering they've been disbanded for a few years now, there is no other recent setlist available. And they did not play live much anyways before that either. Garm always claimed he was a studio guy (thus the lack of Ulver shows as well).

    As a final note, I would recommend that people on this board start with The Sham Mirrors. It's most likely the easiest to get into, especially for those with a distaste in cookie monster vocals. If you're digging it and feeling adventurous, go with La Masquerade Infernale (or Aspera Hiems Symfonia). You could hit up AHS just to hear what they started off as and THEN hit LMI and really see what was up back in that timeframe. Also consider the black metal scene at the time was not exactly adventurous in its scope and sound. Sideshow Symphonies if you're feeling less adventurous and want something closer to Sham Mirrors. Also, ICS Vortex amirite?
     
    #1 Mosquito, Sep 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  2. Mosquito

    Mosquito oh noes!!

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    Post Reserved.

    Post relevent information and questions regarding Arcturus in this thread.
     
  3. Sir Exar Kun

    Sir Exar Kun Member

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    First off, thanks for posting these threads! While I am very familiar with Therion, and slightly familiar with Voyager (I've had Element V since it came out), Arcturus is a serious dark horse for me. I've heard their name many a time, I recognize the cover art, but I don't recall ever having heard any of their material.

    After listening to the first four songs or so that you posted, all I can picture is the twisted soundtrack to some sort of crazed clown show. This is some BIZARRE stuff, certainly is a departure from your typical PP headliner.

    I'm curious, but not sold just yet...... More sampling required, I think.

    Once again, thanks for the posts!
     
  4. Palabra de Dios

    Palabra de Dios Heavy Metal Weatherman

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    Great post for a great band.

    Best point: they're not for everybody. But for anyone with an open mind, I think they're gonna be one of the most-talked about sets of the weekend.
     
  5. VenomGA

    VenomGA At War With Stan

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    Again, A fantastic idea...and MAJOR PROPS to the OP for this thread. I got into Arcturus because of my buddy Adrian "The Energizer Bunny" from Unrestrained Magazine and later The End Records sent me the Sham Mirrors cd. I am beyond psyched to see this band. This is a HUGE coupe for Glenn to get this band over the European festivals!!
     
  6. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Member

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    I picked up Sideshow Symphonies at ProgPower and I'm digging it.
     
  7. Pellaz

    Pellaz Tigron of Immanion

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    Great post, Justin! :kickass:
     
  8. Meteornotes

    Meteornotes Crazed Diet Coke Addict

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    This is very true. Between this and Therion, I do suspect that tickets will sell very quickly this year.

    I am looking forward to this. I like their music, though I have to be in a specific mood to listen to it. I do think the live show is going to be very, very good.

    dt
     
  9. sh0kr0k

    sh0kr0k Active Member

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    You're right! Hadn't thought of that, but it's quite true. Even more reason to be excited for this set.

    For what it's worth, Sideshow Symphonies is my favorite, but solely because I'm a raging Vortex fangirl. :lol:

    Thanks for the immaculate post, Justin!
     
  10. Cheiron

    Cheiron Member

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    I have a feeling that Arcturus will be seen at at least one of the major 2011 festivals. Likely Wacken.

    A brilliant band, and I agree with Mosquito, a must see.
     
  11. BenMech

    BenMech student of the d'eh

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    tammy - You want THIS album [​IMG].

    Simen, clean voice only.

    Vendlus Records.
     
  12. Corsair

    Corsair Member

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    Just my two cents, here, but I feel that the Sham Mirrors probably the best to use to introduce to people who are new to them, due it being generally more accessible. It's not as heavy or as 'out there' as their other albums, but there aren't any "skip it" tracks - Where their other albums are kinda uneven.

    Honestly, I would have come if Arctutus were the only band playing.
     
  13. Mosquito

    Mosquito oh noes!!

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    I do agree that their most accessible album is The Sham Mirrors, in fact at the end of my post I said

    "As a final note, I would recommend that people on this board start with The Sham Mirrors. It's most likely the easiest to get into, especially for those with a distaste in cookie monster vocals. "

    Though I don't agree that there are any skip it tracks on any Arcturus album or that they're uneven.
     
  14. BenMech

    BenMech student of the d'eh

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    You can skip some tracks on Disguised Masters . .
     
  15. lane_miller

    lane_miller Space Ghost

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    Mosquito, thanks for these great posts and the first-class education. I bought one of their CDs at Glenn's table and now I just bought the rest of them from Amazon. I never heard of Arcturus before, but I am very pleased with what I hear. I am really enjoying :D the more eclectic nature of the way PP XII is shaping up!
     
  16. Tom WHW

    Tom WHW New Metal Member

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    I'm going to throw my two cents in here. Arcturus is a band that is like no other. In the same way there is no other "Rage For Order" or a clone of Devin Townsend. Like a Voivod. For me, they are one of the most progressive bands of all time, and madness personified. Inhuman musicianship, extremely creative expressions, and quite frankly, this event is one that will never be forgotten...it will be life-altering for anyone who hasn't experienced them and for WHW, it's an immense honor to share the same stage. If every band sounded like Dream Theater or Hammerfall, where is the progression? The absolute truth is that the most progressive music in recent years originates within the Black Metal scene and no one has gone further than Arcturus. Give them a chance...you'll be quite surprised. <rant off>
     
  17. dcowboys311

    dcowboys311 Member

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    FINALLY.
     
  18. SharkBlack

    SharkBlack Member

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    Did you dog The Sham Mirrors? That album rules!

    I love this band! Can't wait!
     
  19. Mosquito

    Mosquito oh noes!!

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    Who dogged it? I didn't see anyone dogging it. :eek:
     
  20. Palabra de Dios

    Palabra de Dios Heavy Metal Weatherman

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    Honestly, Sham Mirrors is the one I listen to the least. But it's still quite excellent.
     

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