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Arcturus Biography


Arcturus were an avant-garde metal band from Norway featuring many prominent members of the Norwegian black metal scene from bands such as Ulver, Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, Borknagar, The Kovenant, Emperor, and Winds. Their earlier works were black metal with symphonic overtones, but with releases following their first, they adopted an avant-garde style with mainly clean vocals. Arcturus was formed in 1987 as death metal act Mortem. They released an EP and a demo under this name. In 1990, they changed their name to Arcturus, which is the name of a star and means "Guardian of Bears". In 1995, Arcturus released "Aspera Hiems Symfonia" (latin form of Harsh Winter Symphony), acclaimed like one of the most innovative black metal album ever. That line-up consisted of: Garm (Kristoffer Rygg) - Vocals Hellhammer (Jan Axel von Blomberg) - Drums Sverd (Steinar Sverd Johnsen) - Synths August (Carl August Tidemann) - Guitar Skoll (Hugh Stephen James Mingay) - Bass (not assigned on album credits) Aspera Hiems Symfonia is a mix of early 90s norwegian black metal, classical melodies, waltz and refined touch of nordic coldness. The lyrics concentrate on the themes of winter and the darkness of night. "All music & words on Aspera Hiems Symfonia emanated from our souls profoundly". This phrase represents it perfectly. In 1997 Arcturus released the much acclaimed "La Masquerade Infernale" album. The theatrical, almost carnivalesque, style built around Sverd's keyboard was introduced by the large vocals range of Garm (and guest Simen Hestn├Žs) and this became their trademark. After a remix album "Disguised Masters", Arcturus offered their third major effort with "The Sham Mirrors", whose keyboards' dynamic melodies also received good reviews. In 2004, their original vocalist Kristoffer Rygg (a.k.a. Garm of Ulver) was replaced by Simen Hestnæs (aka ICS Vortex) of Dimmu Borgir. With "Sideshow Symphonies" (2005), Arcturus moved towards more progressive tones and a strong lunar sound, leant on a space trip concept narrated by Simen's ethereal voice. A DVD, "Shipwrecked In Oslo" was released in June 2006. The band split up after the successful tour of Australia in March 2007. In early September of 2009, after being ejected from Dimmu Borgir, Simen released a statement on his blog with the following quote: "There is another meeting also planned with Arcturus members to discuss about the future of the band and a possible reunite."

Arcturus Metal Albums

Sideshow Symphonies Thumbnail Image

Originally thought of as simply a black metal super group, Norway’s Arcturus, had the guts to incorporate traditional melody, keyboards, vocal experimental and melodrama into their [...]

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