The Sham Mirrors review by Arcturus

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  • Released: Apr 9, 2002
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (10 votes)
Arcturus: The Sham Mirrors
1

Sound — 10
The band mixes genres from all across the metal spectrum, classical, and even some electronic like parts, in songs such as Nightmare Heaven. This is the third full length album of Arcturus, of which most fans are torn over whether this or the previous album - La Masquerade Infernale - is the best album in their discography. This album focuses on having a space like feel, with the first track - Kinetic - showing this perfectly with odd sound effects, guitar tone that sounds like machinery and lyrics themed around extra-terrestrial life (from Arcturus!). Its much easier to pick the worst song than the best on this album, in my opinion it's collapse generation, which has an introduction which gets boring quite quickly.

Lyrics — 8
With Garm on vocals, you know the vocals will be great before listening. Sure, they're not as theatrical as the vocals on LMI, and they aren't bass range vocals anymore, in fact, they're closer to a tenor with some falsettos thrown in. The vocals fit surprisingly well with the music, particularly the 'ghost-voice' in Kinetic and Ad Absurdum. On Radical Cut there are some black metal vocals by Ihsahn of Emperor and...Ihsahn...which are, although very fitting, not perfect by any means. The lyrics often intentionally don't make sense such as on For To End Yet Again or Radical Cut, which can be somewhat annoying.

Overall Impression — 9
This album is very unique, and the sound isn't really comparable to any other album, you just have to listen to it to decide whether or not you like it. The most impressive songs would be Kinetic, Nightmare Heaven and For To End Yet Again. The only thing I dislike about the album is the occasional repetitiveness on tracks such as Radical Cut or Collapse Generation. If it were stolen or lost, I'd buy it again out of rent money - it's truly that good!

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EpiExplorer
    Its got nothing on UneXpect. By the way:
    This album focuses on having a space like feel
    Arcturus is a star. If the thing about Vortex being in it true, then I would check out more of it, cuz he has talent. Star Crossed is a good song, but the Black Metal 'melodies' dont sit well for me, ruins the avante-garde/epic idea.
    Opethanized
    Funny I just finished listening to this when I saw this review.
    The only thing I dislike about the album is the occasional repetitiveness on tracks such as Radical Cut or Collapse Generation.
    I don't find 'Radical Cut' to be repetitive. Hearing a riff more than once doesn't make a song repetitive. I think it's pretty dynamic for a BM oriented song. Many BM songs (take Emperor's, 'Beyond the Gread Vast Forrest') are much more repetitive in nature. It creates a more atmospheric feel I think. Anyway, this is an excellent record. It continues to grow on me, even after 1000 listens.
    metallicafan616
    EpiExplorer wrote: Its got nothing on UneXpect. By the way: This album focuses on having a space like feel Arcturus is a star. If the thing about Vortex being in it true, then I would check out more of it, cuz he has talent. Star Crossed is a good song, but the Black Metal 'melodies' dont sit well for me, ruins the avante-garde/epic idea.
    I think Arcturus is the fourth brightest star visible from earth. Vortex was in the next album although it wasn't quite as good. Check out the live videos on Youtube of their older songs, they mostly have Vortex or a crap vocalist they had for a few months between Garm and Vortex, who fortunately didn't record anything. As for UneXpect - good as they are - Arcturus is more music oriented with a Avant Garde feel than gimmick oriented with some musical songs - which coincidentally are the least Avant Garde. Opethanized, I just find radical cut a bit boring, perhaps due to having heard it so many times the repetitiveness is a bit more prominent. The keys solo is insane though.