Arcturus – Sideshow Symphonies

arcturus_072306_sideshowOther than the obvious allure of cash and a steady job, I really don’t know why Simen Hestnæs choose to settle for simply being a bass player in Dimmu Borgir, when this guy easily possesses one of the most interesting pitch and screaming vocal style since Garm. His pitch delivery is easily among one of my favorites, which says a lot since I tend to steer clear of a clean vocal style. Perhaps it’s for this fact alone, but I really like the latest outing from Norway’s wayward sons of theatrical space travel, Arcturus. Sideshow Symphonies… bottom line… mellow! This is one very laid back and progged out opus that allows the listener to relax and become lost within the easygoing song structures and drifting/gentle vocal lines of Simen. His delivery truly adds an increased calming effect that’s found emitting from this album, before Arcturus do finally show some teeth with a slight increase in speed/intensity as on “Shipwrecked Frontier Pioneer” and “Hibernation Sickness Complete.” This enables Hestnæs to dig deep into his gullet on occasion as well for that Ihsahn meets Garm black metal rasp, which is just as impressive as his other delivery. Subtle synth and piano lines continue to exhale the aura of somber tidings that flow throughout the prog rock guitar lines and help nurture a more tranquil atmosphere. Such a formula does allow the songs by disc end to start sounding the same, but if you’re in the mood for something musically that is far less intrusive than your standard lashing of hateful black metal – something that Arcturus has never been anyway – “Sideshow Symphonies” should really hit the spot when evenings where quiet introspection may be all one needs to find their center again. – Marty

~ by martyworm on January 2, 2009.

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