Sound — 9
Anyone whose heard of Arcturus knows that their sound is completely unique, a blend of all genres of metal, a dark atmosphere. This album features Bass/Baritone vocals by Garm, Tenor and Falsettos by Vortex a string quartet, flute, harpsichord amongst many other traditional instruments that are unexpected on a metal album. It also has a distinct influence by various styles of classical music and literature. The sound differs between each track, with Master Of Disguise having frequent tempo changes with a hugely dark atmosphere, to the slower, sorrowful Ad Astra or the plain bizarre chaos path; so long as you like metal, there is probably something in this album for you. And the drums! featuring Hellhammer (from hundreds of bands although most famously Mayhem), sparingly playing the double bass drum at lightning speeds in between down-to-earth beats that really hold the mood of song.
Lyrics — 9
As mentioned above, this album takes alot of inspiration from Literature. There is quote before the lyrics to Master Of Disguise, Alone features a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, and Throne Of Tragedy is a translated poem written by Jrn Hernik Svren. The other songs all have great lyrics too, and Garm couldn't be any more perfect for them, although some people think its a bit too theatrical. The extra vocals by Vortex on Master Of Disguise, Chaos Path and Painting My Horror contrast amazingly with the lows of Garm and further deepen this albums sound.
Overall Impression — 9
By giving this all 9s, you're probably doubting that its actually that good, that it's actually an average yet overrated album, but I honestly mean it when I say this album is an absolute masterpiece of the metal genre. No other band comes even close to the sound of Arcturus. The only problem with the entire album in my opinion is that when encoded as mp3s it can be hard to hear some of the string quartet sections. If it were stolen/lost I would buy it again within an instant, and so should you!