Arcturus - Sideshow Symphonies
19 September 2005

01. Hibernation Sickness Complete
02. Shipwrecked Frontier Pioneer
03. Deamonpainter
04. Nocturnal Vision Revisited
05. Evacuation Code Deciphered
06. Moonshine Delirium
07. White Noise Monster
08. Reflections
09. Hufsa

Arcturus are one of those bands… I'm sorry, I used the wrong word! Lets start again from the beginning. Arcturus are one of those pieces of Art that don't remain static, they redefine their overall existence while remaining recognizable and always exploring different and various dimensions of their infinite majesty.

Garm is history as far as this band is concerned; however, for all those that consider this release some kind of betrayal and can't get past the fact that this fabulous interpreter/artist is no longer part of this intellectual phenomenon, they should just learn to cooperate with Arcturus' evolution. They never consisted only of Garm, but they always were an entity of many personalities pouring themselves into every release. The ideal replacement for Garm could only be Siemen "ICS Vortex" Hestnaes, an interpreter with whom Arcturus is not working for the first time as they cooperate since he had taken part in the monumental "La Masquerade Infernale".

"Sideshow Symphonies" ranges between raging and esoteric, serene, atmospheric passages, whereas a dark melancholic mantle veils the album through its overall duration. Sverd, the ship captain, remains an exceptional and charismatic composer and his playing abilities become more fabulous with every Arcturus release, making us, their fans, wonder which peak of greatness he will reach in the future. The piano and the keyboard melodies evoke a fragile, dark, introvert atmosphere that casts its beautiful spell on the listener. They also evoke nightmares in front of his very eyes with the more intense and surrounding nocturnal soundscapes that are explored (with the FX adding a beautifully eerie touch).

The guitar work is wonderful and inspired and every passage has been played in an absolutely unerring way, whether we are talking about the riffing or the twisted solos, or some creative parts here and there. The drumming… Really now, were you expecting me to talk about the drumming of "Sideshow Symphonies" since the drummer of the band is the one and only Hellhammer? The drumming is just unerring, stunning, artistic and really varied in terms of tempos and technique. The bass lines are fabulous, adding a nocturnal pulse to the overall aesthetic of the album; however, they could have been a bit more in the foreground of the production.

Siemen Hestnaes is an utterly expressive and emotional interpreter and he gives his very own touch to the sound of Arcturus. Vocally and lyrically he is pouring his soul to the astral melancholy and esoteric darkness of the band's sideshow symphonies. Now, if you'd like me to mention some highlights from an album of Arcturus it would be something very difficult since the band we're talking about is an all-star artistic act and thus it would be pointless to "cut" the album into pieces like that. Every Arcturus release consists of an entity that flows as one. Just feel like a "shipwrecked frontier pioneer" and enter the "moonshine delirium".

"Sideshow Symphonies" is a sincere and inspired presentation of sounds, pictures and emotions harmonizing together in the most appropriate way. The masks have redefined their existence and they drowned in the obscurity of the stars…

Band profile: Arcturus
Album: Sideshow Symphonies


Written on 19.10.2005 by
"It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."
More reviews by DerRozzengarten ››


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Mork Beskytter - 08.09.2006 at 17:48  
Amazing album!!!!
Frei - 19.01.2007 at 08:42  
It is always good to hear Siemen "ICS Vortex" Hestnaes and its fantastic voice.
I must also agree to DerRozzengarten when it is mentioned Arcturus as piece of art, not a "common" band.

And since it is for say something about this magnificent work. Is necessary only one word for this:
Cthulhu - 19.02.2007 at 04:31  
This is of course very, very good, although I do not like this as much or think it is as great as their previous works. At times it sounds more like a prog rock than a prog black metal recording, I know this is a very fine line to be drawing but I think it is justifiable. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something is lacking from parts of this album compared to previous works, and it isn't just Garm. Having said that it is still an excellent piece of intellectual artistic expression with stunning musicianship, its just not quite "Sham Mirrors", "La Masquerade...", or "Aspera Hiems..." for me. 9/10
fatpep - 11.12.2007 at 18:34  
Wow, it is the first time I buy an Arcturus cd and I must say, wonderfull! I could'nt believe there was actually a band like this on the earth, really, it is so different then anything i've heard so far, and i heard a lot. I always thought black metal lacked melody, maybe I will get to listen more black metal over time because i got into it with this release. Its too bad the band doesnt exist anymore and Sham Mirrors is discontinuated but i bought it on Ebay . Cant wait to receive it just by reading all the comments. If i like this release what will it be with Sham Mirrors???!?!?!!? Besides, i dont agree with Cthulhu when you talk about prog rock instead of prog metal, sorry but it is very metal and i haven't heard any rock guitar riffs in the songs and the atmosphere it gives when i listen to it is very black and therefore metal. i never heard black rock.....i give 9/10 but it is just a figure because this is the first one of em i listen.....
Vitriolic Hate - 12.12.2008 at 01:23  
pretty mediocre album!I prefer the old ones,I will give it a 7...
Uirapuru - 14.04.2009 at 07:43  
Awesome work from Arcturus, one of their best albuns along with Aspera Hiems Symfonia. ICS's voice and the ''space pirates'' atmosphere (like someone i don't remember write in a post somewhere ) caught my attention.
Southern Wind - 28.04.2009 at 12:38  
This must be the biggest grower I had knew in my life as a music-lover. I was angry at first listen, I found it boring and pretentious, and now it's just one of my all-times favourite albums, and my absolute favourite by Arcturus
Michaelgpc - 23.01.2011 at 14:22  
A fine album indeed, full of interesting sounds....I have found myself returning to it often...
Arcesse Eum - 02.10.2012 at 14:35  
Each Arcturus album must be judged on its own merits - this album is fucking genius - I've been listening to it weekly for the last 8 years and something new pops out at me every time.

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