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Well, this album is the best Arcturus has done by far. Too bad they recently split up.
What we have here is Aspera Hiems Symfonia completely remastered, a second disc featuring two new songs, the My angel EP and the Constelation EP.
First, we have the Aspera album completely remastered, as I said earlier. I have heard some MP3’s from the original CD, and damn, this is a very good remaster. It’s totally diferent from the original. Some aspects even sounds like they are re-recorded. The songs are very good, too. Any of them has at least one good riff or more. Garm does a great work with his voice, both clean vocals and growling. His growl is very simular to his growl on Borknagar’s The olden domain, if you know what I mean. His clean vocals is more high pitched than the deep singing he is known for. He is an exelent singer. The other member I think shines out is Sverd with his exelent keyboard work. Very symphonic and atmospheric. The highlights are Du Nordavind (The best song of theArcturus discography), Når kulda tar, Wintry Gray, To thou who dwellest in the night, and whence and wither goest the wind. But the others are great too!
The second disc is diferent from the first. The two new songs aren’t that much to say about. It’s some good symphonic/atmospheric songs.
The My angel EP has a very doomy feeling to it. It’s Marius Vold who does the vocals here, and he does an ok job. He has a death metal inspired growl, I think.
The Constelation EP is the highlight of the disc. Garm has another growl here, with more atmosphere than his clean growl on Aspera. They are quite hard to explain. Du nordavind is slower and more doomy here, it’s not as good as the Aspera version, though. Når kulda tar has a wintry atmosphere here who is very dificult to explain with words. It’s a cold and melancholic atmosphere. It even beats the Aspera version, because that one has a very good production, hence, loosing some of it’s atmosphere.
There’s not much else to say about this album. Other than that this album kick ass. Buy it if you’re an Arcturus fan or likes symphonic or atmospheric black metal. But if you’re one of the tr00 kvlt guys who can’t stand a little piano stroke, and worships Darkthrone and Mayhem to death, stay away!
Ok. AHS' original release sounded like ass. You might expect this to be a clichely bad "Remaster," that adds nothing to the sound.
Holy fuck if you think that you're a fucking idiot especially if you've already heard this. It's like they re-recorded literally every goddamn aspect. Before it was kind of gritty and had an underproduced feel, but now it's more held together, and much more atmospherical, which is probably what it does best.
Now we all know Garm and Hellhammer. We all know they can do NO wrong. And they certainly don't here. Garm's vocals are my favorite aspect, and the keyboard work (by whom I forgot, sorry) is second. The drumming molds it all together, but it can be much more easily enjoyed on the old version of AHS. It seemed more in the front, but now that's headed by the vocals and keyboards, with the guitars just creating nice melodys in the back.
I'm not going to bother with a song-by-song, there's like 16 tracks. Instead I'll highlight the song that I'm debating wheather it or ...and Oceans - Solipsism, is my favorite song in existence (as of now)- Raudt Og Svart.
Opening with a groovy little riff, this is a song you can dance to. And don't think I haven't tried. After a bit of the guitar work (around :30) and the synth, we're treated to a double bass assault and the best vocal performance I have ever heard. In Norweigan, I can't actually understand what's really being said (well, in English, I mean), but the lyrics and the way Garm chooses to implement his vocals are just so tranquil, even during the otherwise harsh parts.
A few breakdowns, more great music, and everything, we get around 3:20, where we're treated to an excellent solo. Never leaving the dance melody, even! Even with fast double bass pounding, a truely metal solo, I can still have a nice fucking waltz. Fucking hell, it's amazing. 4:00, it all but stops except for the synth, a little scream, 4:15 back to the awesome vocals, and it's still. Fucking. Soothing to hear. Truely a masterpiece of music.
I won't get into much detail with the second disk, but I must admit it's still amazing. I honestly like the remaster of AHS more than the Constellation+My Angel part, because it just seems to better show their talent off. More "BMey" in production, the Constellation version of Raudt Og Svart, it seems alot more brutal. Not so much brutal as "not as calm", it's just really alot heavier. I can't explain it, really. You need teh album because for the price I got it at ($13), it's THREE FUCKING ALBUMS with some of the best music ever.
BUY OR DIE NOW
BUY OR DIE NOW
BUY OR DIE NOW
--NOW NOW NOW
This is a re-release of 'Aspera Hiems Symfonia' (disc one), 'Constellations' (disc two) and My Angel (disc two). It also contains two previously un-released tracks on disc two.
The Aspera Hiems Symfonia (AHS) (disc one tracks 1-8) truly is excellent. It's re-recordings of the tracks on Constellations, plus 4 others. The "voices" have been enhanced, and the whole thing sounds pretty well produced. Garm performs very well, although his vocals aren't perfect, and definitely not as good as on Constellations (see next paragraph). I think that the best tracks are 'Wintry Grey', 'The Bodkin and the Quietus' and 'Du Nordavind'.
The Constellations part (disc two tracks 11-14) is possibly the best music I have ever heard. It's 10 times better than AHS. It sounds a lot more atmospheric, rawer, Garms vocals are WAY better, and Hellhammers drumming is next to perfect. Samoth also performs on this album, as does Steinar Sverd Johnsen, who creates the best keyboard melodies in the world, ever. It's so magical it's unbelievable!
My Angel (disc two tracks 15-16) is also a lot better then AHS. Again it has a lot of atmosphere, and the vocalist and bassist, Marius Vold, is fantastic. Steinar Sverd Johnsen and Hellhammer feature on it, too. Steinar Sverd Johnsen did keyboards and guitar on this EP. The track My Angel is my favourite. It's very spooky, and very weird. Morax is good, too. Again, very weird, and lovely keyboards.
I'm going to score this 98%. 2% deducted for AHS, which has some tiny vocal problems. I recommend that you buy this now!
This edition includes the first Arcturus LP "Aspera Hiems Symfonia" on cd #1 while cd #2 includes unreleased tracks, as well as the first EP "Constellation" and the "My Angel" single.
Aspera Hiems Symfonia has been remastered, and this isn't one of those remasters where you can hardly see a difference, this was a serious job, the instruments and the vocals are much more powerful while on the original. For example, there's a great difference between the chorus on "Du Nordavind". The album has a majestic and eerie feeling from the beggening to the end, all the tracks use beautiful keyboard melodies, Garm's vocals are perfect and Hellhammer's drums are quite effective.
For a starters, opening track "To Thou Who Dwellest in the Night" is one of the best tracks in the album, starting fast and heavy with a menacing keyboard and blazing guitars.
"Wintry Grey" has beautiful keyboard parts which give an orchestral and carnivalesque feeling to the track.
Another great highlight is the Norwegian-sang "Du Nordavind" which benefitted a lot from the remastering.
Also, I have to highlight "Naar Kulda Tar" whose keyboard symphonies will remind you of an orcherstral composition.
As for cd #2, the Constellation EP includes original versions of four songs on Aspera, they sound more raw, especially "Du Nordavind" but they don't lose quality. The "My Angel" tracks sound stranger, with a certain groove mixing guitar and keyboard/electronic effects, they are quite interesting to hear.
My 96% rating goes mostly to the quality of Aspera and to the improvements that the remastering brought, but they also include the interest value of Constellation and My Angel.
Probably black metal purists won't like this, but for all others I recommend it, even if you don't like black metal, this Norwegian supergroup transcends the walls of styles.