ARCTURUS - Disguised Masters CD Digipak

A fitting end to a diverse and solid collection of tracks ...

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Arcturus are a Norwegian 'progressive black metal' band that share members with label mates Ulver (see also "Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" and "Metamorphosis" EP). The 'black metal' tag is deceiving here, especially when you consider that most of this disc is comprised of electronic reworkings of their latest album "La Masquerade Infernale". When you read the term 'black metal' you probably think of 10,000 mph guitar riffs, double bass drums assaults and a growling/screaming madman on vocals, right? Arcturus, much like recent Ulver, is different. Their music is much more varied, dramatic, lyrically poetic and musically intelligent. They not only delve in said metal basics but add interesting elements such as mellow electric guitar passages, piano, synth atmospheres, orchestral arrangements and programmed beats. The disc is separated into 3 sections: Preludium, Interludium and Postludium. The Preludium offers a short sample collage intro by When (see also "Psychedelic Wunderbaum"), the new track "Deception Genesis" and a 1998 re-recording of "Du Nordavind". The latter two tracks give me an idea of what un-altered Arcturus sounds like ... it's not all that much unlike the more vocal/metal based tracks on Ulver's "Themes..". The Interludium is where things get really interesting with 6 re-mixes / reconstructions by Intellecto/Valle, Phantom FX, Valle/Hellhammer and G. Wolf. Having never heard the original tracks I can only guess as to how much they're re-created here ... and my guess is *a lot*. The metal is either stripped away entirely or heavily augmented with samples, orchestral synths and/or electronics and the songs sound completely re-arranged. All of these re-mixes are nicely done, very well produced (as is everything on the label) and don't sound contrived or generic. The Phantom FX heavy hip-hop styled remix of "Master of Disguise" with 'gangstafications' (ie, rapping) by S.C.N. is the most surprising and consequently my favorite. The sole track that comprises the Postludium is a purely orchestral arrangement of "Ad Astra". A fitting end to a diverse and solid collection of tracks ...


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