Published May 22, 2015Hailing from the same country as much of the fledgling black metal scene of 1990s, which prided itself on eliminating the bombast and technical showiness that had begun to take over metal, hasn't prevented Arcturus from exploring the far reaches of metal — and beyond.
Sure, the band's initial foundation was black metal, but if the originators of that sound were Neanderthals in their brutal simplicity, these Norwegians are homo sapiens: a few evolutionary steps ahead. Case in point: Arcturian — the band's first album in a decade — features a violin on every track. Singer I.C.S. Vortex's operatic vocal acrobatics are also a far cry from shrieks, while the jazzy drumming of Hellhammer is far more diversified than constant blastbeats.
This all makes it hit that much harder when the band do delve into blasting scream sections, such as on "Angst." Even more surprising are the self-professed dubstep parts, such as the album's intro, the beginning of "The Journey" or "Demon," which features no acoustic drums. The impressive bit is that, despite the clear influence, it doesn't mar the songs. Instead, it adds weight and mood, dodging dubstep theatrics in favour of a more EDM/industrial influence.
Yes, you really have to rest up before taking this journey — it's a long and winding trip up the Arcturian mountain — but if you're prepared, it's a hell of a thing to behold: hooky without being barbed, progressive without being pretentious and metal without being, you know, METAL. (Prophecy)