Sound — 8
This album is a lot simpler than their next two, but with the spacey feel of The Sham Mirrors and the classical influence that was made more prominent in La Masquerade Infernale. It's somewhat like a taster of Arcturus, if you like this album you will definitely like those two. It's got plenty of sparkly neoclassical keyboard melodies and contrasting black metal toned guitars - complemented perfectly by Hellhammer's drumming, which whilst being softer than every other band I've heard him in, is still brilliant. The solo tone of the guitars seems really out of place which isn't helped by the fact it's annoyingly loud in the mix, but you get used to it. Then there's Garm...
Lyrics — 7
His vocal range is hugely impressive, although seldom used and mostly only the lower notes on this album. His raspier black metal vocals are not going to disappoint you though, nor his epic shriek in Raudt Og Svart. Not all the lyrics are in English, and those that are aren't exactly memorable. It's not as poetic as La Masquerade nor as confusing as The Sham Mirrors. Just...average. Perhaps the Norwegian lyrics are interesting, but I don't know. The vocal highlights are probably Du Nordavind and Wintry Grey in my opinion, it's like the style used on Ulver's Bergtatt (also by Garm) but lower and not as calm. I'd say a 9 for vocals and a 5 for the average lyrics so a 7 overall.
Overall Impression — 8
My favourite songs from the album are very hard to pick. It's much easier to say that Whence And Whither Goest The Wind is marginally worse than the other songs. The way Arcturus seamlessly fuse neoclassical elements into a black metal sound without sounding over the top and dramatic (like in the masterpiece album that followed this) is unbelievable, making some of the songs sound hugely hopeful whilst dark. I don't think I will ever lose this album, but on the off chance it happened I would buy it again immediately and hold a vendetta against my house for hiding it from me.