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Arcturus is an avant-garde metal band formed in Norway in 1987. They named it Arcturus (meaning Bear Guardian), after the Behenian fixed star Arcturus.


The band has released four official full-length albums. Arcturus has experimented throughout their career, extracting influences and incorporating elements from all over the musical spectrum including black metal and classical music, but the band was rooted as a metal outfit.

The original line-up was changed when bassist/vocalist Marius Vold (ex-Thorns) was taken out of the band. The band soon became labeled a black metal supergroup, consisting of Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg on vocals, Carl August Tidemann on guitar, Skoll on bass and the two other original members, Hellhammer on drums and Steinar Sverd Johnsen as main composer/keyboard player. In 1994, Samoth played guitars on the EP Constellation and released it on his record label, Nocturnal Art.

After three full-length albums, Rygg left the band. He was replaced by Øyvind Hægeland
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ARCTURUS Discography

ARCTURUS albums / top albums

ARCTURUS Aspera Hiems Symfonia album cover 3.89 | 32 ratings
Aspera Hiems Symfonia
Symphonic Black Metal 1996
ARCTURUS La Masquerade Infernale album cover 3.95 | 48 ratings
La Masquerade Infernale
Avant-garde Metal 1997
ARCTURUS The Sham Mirrors album cover 4.31 | 60 ratings
The Sham Mirrors
Avant-garde Metal 2002
ARCTURUS Sideshow Symphonies album cover 3.68 | 27 ratings
Sideshow Symphonies
Progressive Metal 2005
ARCTURUS Arcturian album cover 3.92 | 10 ratings
Avant-garde Metal 2015

ARCTURUS EPs & splits

ARCTURUS Constellation album cover 2.94 | 4 ratings
Symphonic Black Metal 1994
ARCTURUS True Kings Of Norway album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
True Kings Of Norway
Symphonic Black Metal 2000

ARCTURUS live albums

ARCTURUS Shipwrecked In Oslo album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Shipwrecked In Oslo
Avant-garde Metal 2014

ARCTURUS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ARCTURUS re-issues & compilations

ARCTURUS Disguised Masters (And The Deception Circus) album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Disguised Masters (And The Deception Circus)
Avant-garde Metal 1999
ARCTURUS Aspera Hiems Symfonia / Constellation / My Angel album cover 3.32 | 7 ratings
Aspera Hiems Symfonia / Constellation / My Angel
Symphonic Black Metal 2002

ARCTURUS singles (1)

.. Album Cover
2.79 | 6 ratings
My Angel
Symphonic Black Metal 1991

ARCTURUS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 2 ratings
Shipwrecked In Oslo
Avant-garde Metal 2006


ARCTURUS La Masquerade Infernale

Album · 1997 · Avant-garde Metal
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Arcturus went from cold, compelling Symphonic Black Metal soundscapes to… bizarro twisted circus Metal.

This thing is loaded with different influences; the most prominent styles are Symphonic, Progressive, and Avant-Garde Metal, but there are flavors of Dark Cabaret, Symphonic Black Metal, Drum n Bass, Modern Classical, and probably some other stuff. Interestingly, it reminds me of Sigh from Japan stylistically.

Incredibly interesting and ever changing, but at the end of the day, much less enjoyable than their old style. Some of the songs here are quite great, but even those don’t leave any sense of memorability because this album is not focused on riffs or melody. Rather, you’re more likely to remember a song as “the one that has that circus march theme in it for a minute” or “the one where he does those really goofy operatic vocals.” Just doesn’t suit me much, but I respect the innovation and uniqueness.

ARCTURUS Arcturian

Album · 2015 · Avant-garde Metal
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Arcturus took a decade off of creating studio albums after Sideshow Symphonies and have returned with this, a pretty solid new release which, though it lacks any fully-fledged epics (with all the song lengths at less than six minutes), still offers a confection of progressive-minded metal with symphonic and black metal touches, with the inclusion of (unless my ears deceive me) an actual string section really allowing them to bring their symphonic aspect to the fore. Sebastian Grouchot guests on violin and adds a nicely melancholic touch to pieces such as Crashland.

Like the preceding Sideshow Symphonies, this does not feel like as striking and groundbreaking a release as any of their first three studio albums (up to and including the classic Sham Mirrors). Still, if you loved those you will probably enjoy this, and even if other musicians have caught up with the far-out territory of Arcturus, Arcturian is still a nicely polished example of this sort of black-about-the-edges progressive metal.

ARCTURUS Sideshow Symphonies

Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal
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As far as Arcturus album titles go, "Sideshow Symphonies" is rather apt. "Symphonies" are in play in the sense that the music is deep in progressive realms with, as in the classic Sham Mirrors or La Masquerade Infernale, only hints of their earlier black metal style present (and these are buried deeper than ever). And "Sideshow" in the sense that this doesn't feel like a top-flight, main event level Arcturus album.

Perhaps part of the issue is that the album explores a somewhat more mellow side of their sound, which following the bombastic moments of the previous two albums may feel rather restrained and meek. It's still an interesting enough release in its own right, with influences ranging from Pink Floyd (Shipwrecked Frontier Pioneer) to, I swear, just a hint of IQ (just imagine Peter Nicholls singing Hibernation Sickness Complete and you might see what I mean), but I can see why it's an often overlooked album from them.

ARCTURUS Aspera Hiems Symfonia

Album · 1996 · Symphonic Black Metal
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The debut album by Arcturus finds the band not quite reaching the symphonic intricacies of La Masquerade Infernale, instead yielding something more like a mingling of black metal and melodic prog - in particular, some of Steinar Sverd Johnsen's keyboard passages in the quieter moments put me in mind of the likes of early Marillion and other Genesis-influenced neo-prog projects. This unlikely fusion yields intoxicating fruit here, with the album neatly blending the styles at a time when the idea of sophisticated Norwegian black metal was still not yet entirely given credit. A majestic counterpoint to the more kvlt efforts of their contemporaries.

ARCTURUS The Sham Mirrors

Album · 2002 · Avant-garde Metal
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ARCTURUS are from Norway and are a supergroup of sorts as these members all came from bands who played or play Black Metal. The only thing is that on this record they don't play that style. What ? Listed here under Avant-Metal this band really hits us with a wall of sound and contrasts that with the mellow sections well. Vocals are normal except when guest vocalist Ihsahn spits his venom on the track "Radical Cut".By the way that song opens with an all out assault as Ihsahn comes in screaming. "Kinetic" is nice and heavy early on as spoken words come in.I really like this track and we do get some laid back sections too. "Nightmare Heaven" is heavy as the vocals join in. Man i like this one.We do get an industrial flavour and then later the guitars grind away. Nice. "Ad Absurdum" is another killer track with some outstanding bass.Vocals again are fantastic from trickster G Rex. The drums often hit us with a barrage of sound like a stampede. A great sounding guitar solo hits us half way through too. "Collapse Generation" sounds like an army running towards their enemy as the ground shakes.It finally lets up halfway through as we get a calm. Vocals and heaviness follow but at a much slower pace and then it kicks in hard once again. "Star-Crossed" features some beautiful piano early on and then it kicks in with vocals. "For To End Yet Again" is the longest track at over 10 1/2 minutes and even has some horns in it later. An excellent release and i really like the cover art too.

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