Arcturus – Aspera Hiems Symphonia

The Norwegian avant garde band that was rooted as a metal act that emerged in early 1991 releasing a single titled ‘My Angel’
Although this album is a strictly labelled black metal release, the band is actually under the Avant Garde genre.
It is well known that this band is filled with musical geniuses from various well known metal acts such as Dimmu Borgir,Ulver,Borknagar and others. SO the least to say that this release has had a wealth of experience as well as musical ingenuity on many levels.
To start off this review , I would like to add that although this album was released in 1996 it still stands out to this very day despite the change that metal issus have improved dramatically in the sense of production and mixing.
Throughout the album it is fairly obvious that the keyboards play a major role in how the riffs entwine with one another, there is a huge amount of ambience involved throughout the musical transitions.
One would easily describe the band as sounding symphonic but I would slightly disagree. The keyboards on this release are considered more melodic that they are symphonic, however the vocals do have a strong hold on the symphonic side attributing diverse vocal styles. From speech to humming and even reversed segments of speech.
The music is so uplifting it takes you straight to the depths of outer space/intergalactical atmospheres. This is considered one on the most important aspects when writing out a work of art such as this album where the lyrical concept , the name of the band and the musical mood created all fall into the exact same black hole. A brilliance in musical manifestation is the main label to this album. One cannot simply listen to just one track off of this release as the second you press play you are immediately sucked into the Arcturian Vortex of darkness and outer space.
Although the band has undergone several lineup changes , there is a power trio involved in preserving Arcturus despite the drastic musical direction then band chose to create. The music on later release may not even be under a metal genre but the general mood and ambience still grabs your ears and takes you to different places as long as you are still holding onto that intergalactical/outer space mood.
There are a few great songs on this release (To Thou Who Dwellest In The Night” “Wintry Grey” “Whence And Whither Goest The Wind” “Fall Of Man”
In my own humble opinion , the above mentioned four tracks a mastery of black metal in a distinctive display of creativity.
The album was re released in 2012 with additional tracks unavailable in their 1996 album.
Arcturus did disband for a few years only to regroup again and release their last album that dawned in 2015 under the title |The Arcturian Sign|
We at Cairo Metal are positive that more great releases will come our way from this band as long as the power trio involved in writing these wizardry compositions remain in the band.
This release is a highly recommended listening experience, whether for solitude, a cold winter night or just a get together with your buddies to once again appreciate and dream through this astounding 42 minute masterpiece.