Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors


8.8 | 607 votes |
Release date: 2002
Style: Avantgarde metal

Owners:

780 have it
88 want it


01. Kinetic
02. Nightmare Heaven
03. Ad Absurdum
04. Collapse Generation
05. Star-Crossed
06. Radical Cut
07. For To End Yet Again

Top 20 albums of 2002: 4
Top 200 albums of all time: 108

Line-up
Kristoffer Rygg - vocals
Steinar Johnsen - keyboards
Knut Magne Valle - guitars
Jan Axel Blomberg - drums
Dag F. Gravem - bass

Guest musicians
Vegard Sverre Tveitan - vocals
Mathias Eick - trumpet
Hugh Steven James Mingay - bass

Staff review by
DerRozzengarten
Rating:
9.0
Arcturus… Maybe the best band coming from Norway; the proof is obvious when you listen to their compositions, read their lyrics, when you become one with their artistic concerns while following their conjectural manoeuvres in the dark. After the dark feeling of "Aspera Hiems Symfonia" and the intellectual darkness of "La Masquerade Infernale" Arcturus with "The Sham Mirrors" take us on an intergalactic journey to the stars, to the infinite wisdom of the almighty universe through chaos and feelings never felt before, through a "nightmare heaven" to a "collapse generation".

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published 30.08.2004 | Comments (13)

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Comments

Comments: 18   Visited by: 590 users
25.05.2013 - 19:16
Rating: 8
Erik M.
What an overrated album this is. Their debut is superior to this one by a long shot. I expected more of this album, since it's getting the most praise out of all Arcturus' albums.

That being said, it's still a great album that deserves an 8.5, since it's pretty unique-sounding and all, but not all the songs are equally good for me.
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16.06.2013 - 19:17
Rating: 9
Jiri
Written by Erik M. on 25.05.2013 at 19:16

What an overrated album this is. Their debut is superior to this one by a long shot. I expected more of this album, since it's getting the most praise out of all Arcturus' albums.

That being said, it's still a great album that deserves an 8.5, since it's pretty unique-sounding and all, but not all the songs are equally good for me.

I completely agree with everything you have written here. For me, this album is probably the worst album by Arcturus, even worse than Vortex's album. Their first two are masterpieces and this is the album that is lauded to high heaven! I never understood the phenomenon...
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16.06.2013 - 20:16
Rating: 8
Erik M.
Written by Jiri on 16.06.2013 at 19:17

I completely agree with everything you have written here. For me, this album is probably the worst album by Arcturus, even worse than Vortex's album. Their first two are masterpieces and this is the album that is lauded to high heaven! I never understood the phenomenon...


I don't understand it either... it's original if anything, but somehow it doesn't blow me away at all (still unique stuff, but I'm not a fan of those clean vocals), unlike the debut. Still have to hear the other two albums, but if the second one is anything like the debut then I don't think I'll be disappointed.
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16.06.2013 - 20:21
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
This one is superior to the debut by far since the debut is extremely flawed. Their best would still be their My Angel 7" and then La Maquerade Infernale and The Sham Mirrors. The debut and Sideshow Symphonies are by far their weakest.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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16.06.2013 - 20:32
Rating: 8
BitterCOld
Gringo
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 16.06.2013 at 20:21

This one is superior to the debut by far since the debut is extremely flawed. Their best would still be their My Angel 7" and then La Maquerade Infernale and The Sham Mirrors. The debut and Sideshow Symphonies are by far their weakest.


hey now, I really like the debut - well at least the packaged version that came out in '02. i probably like them both equally but for entirely different reasons as they are not particularly similar.

while Sham Mirrors has it's own space thing going on at times, but the debut has a creepy vibe that i like.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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16.06.2013 - 20:49
Rating: 9
Unhealer
Eclecticist
I agree with the Marcel, except for the 7'' which I've yet to check out.
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17.06.2013 - 00:04
Lit.
Account deleted
I remember listening to this once and not being impressed. At all. If anything, the record really annoyed me at points. I remember liking Nightmare Heaven, though.
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02.07.2013 - 17:21
Rating: 8
Erik M.
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 16.06.2013 at 20:21

This one is superior to the debut by far since the debut is extremely flawed. Their best would still be their My Angel 7" and then La Maquerade Infernale and The Sham Mirrors. The debut and Sideshow Symphonies are by far their weakest.


Extremely flawed? It just has a raw sound. This one is just way more polished and has a better production. Also, the vocals on this one aren't my cup of tea. Those high-pitched screams are really annoying to me and simply sound ridiculous. I highly prefer black metal to avantgarde/progressive metal, like in this case their debut to this one.
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19.12.2013 - 02:54
-DC-002-
Mastercommander
I know I'm weird for never have really listened to Arcturus, but I'm gonna start here. For one I would really like to hear what started a lot of the avant-garde progressive influence these days. I feel they are an important piece.
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Coldgrits
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19.12.2013 - 19:40
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by -DC-002- on 19.12.2013 at 02:54

I know I'm weird for never have really listened to Arcturus, but I'm gonna start here. For one I would really like to hear what started a lot of the avant-garde progressive influence these days. I feel they are an important piece.

They really are an important piece of Avantgarde and Progressive history. And because of that, and because of how much their style changed from album to album, you should really start at the very beginning of their career.
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~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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20.12.2013 - 23:39
-DC-002-
Mastercommander
Written by psykometal on 19.12.2013 at 19:40

Written by -DC-002- on 19.12.2013 at 02:54

They really are an important piece of Avantgarde and Progressive history. And because of that, and because of how much their style changed from album to album, you should really start at the very beginning of their career.


I got the first album along with this one so I'll probably get to it after this one I like this album. Funny thing on the first song, Kenetic - which is a very good song - The clean singing sounds like the vocals on some of Ulvers newer albums.
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Coldgrits
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24.12.2013 - 20:47
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by -DC-002- on 20.12.2013 at 23:39

Funny thing on the first song, Kenetic - which is a very good song - The clean singing sounds like the vocals on some of Ulvers newer albums.

That's because they are the same vocalist, Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg. He left Arcturus to focus fully on Ulver not too long after this album's release.

http://metalstorm.net/bands/bandmember.php?member_id=393
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~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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25.12.2013 - 20:48
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by Guest on 25.12.2013 at 01:23

"extremely flawed". It's not a fucking polished diamond, but this statement is just bullshit.
You rank a two-track-EP above certain albums, what? What's the point, really?


So it's bullshit because you don't agree with him?

What's wrong with prefering EPs over a full length? Nothing really.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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29.12.2013 - 11:57
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by Guest on 29.12.2013 at 02:25

Written by Mr. Doctor on 25.12.2013 at 20:48

What's wrong with prefering EPs over a full length? Nothing really.

Well, Long Play is pretty much a synonym for an album, whereas Extended Play is a synonym for a single with more meat around it, or just something that shouldn't be considered an album. Prefering EPs over albums is a delusional manner of throwing away the meaning of almost saturated, complete piece of art, and replacing it with just tracks and air (nothingness). Of course there's exceptions where the type of the release is more cryptic, but with this Arcturus case; there's no case. With this case choosing an EP over albums is just prefering aural emptiness over music and the concept of album.


I really hate to use such a done-to-death quote... But... That's like... Your opinion, man.

Don't try to pass an opinion of a band's work value as something being set on stone just because Marcel's opinion doesn't go with your flow. Now THAT is delusional. The whole part of "saturated, complete piece of art" and stuff just sounds like mumbo jumbo that is just personal. Nothing to do with the fact that it's completely OK to prefer an EP or even a demo over a full length. Everyone has their opinion, it just ticks me off that someone is calling someone else "delusional" because they don't agree with someone having a different way to look at albums like if some bands are "special cases" and there are rules of what you have to prefer or not.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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29.12.2013 - 12:47
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Also worth noting that Nails' album this year is 17 minutes long, and Deathspell Omega's Kenose EP is nearly 35 minutes long

Also worth pointing out that Kenose is better than 99.9‰ of all albums ever made.

Music should be judged as bodies of work, so EPs can indeed be better and more valuable than albums.

And this idea that only full length is "complete" and an EP isn't is made up perspective. There are no such rules governing art.
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19.03.2014 - 21:29
Constantine
Account deleted
This band man.. this fucking bad is amazing. They release 3 albums with completely different themes and sound, this one's is Space or the coldness of space. The vocals are outstanding, I can't believe what this guy can do with this voice, eg: towards the end of track #2 his vocals are out of this world.

Most of the songs here I can't get enough, they are so fucking good.. I can't name highlights because there are no low points in this album really..
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22.03.2014 - 23:46
Rating: 10
fandango68
Complete masterpiece... I don't give many '10s' out, but this album gets one...
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First gig was Manowar (loincloths 'n' all), Bristol Colston Hall in March 1983, on the 'Hail to England' tour. Tickets were £3.75, 300 in the audience, Mercyful Fate never showed, but my hearing still got seriously trashed..
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13.09.2015 - 07:31
Rating: 9
masterofdisguise
Excellent album indeed, but not as good as the previous. Actually, this could be perfect wasn't for radical cut, it breaks the album mood, maybe the harsh vocals wasn't necessary here. Anyway, its just my opinion, and still deserves a 9.
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