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             "Aspera Hiems Symphonia" 1995   Century Media

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                                      Arcturus : Aspera Hiems Symphonia

The supergroup consisting of Garm (Ulver, Borknagar) and Hellhammer (Mayhem), among other musicians, puts out their debut album to show what they have to offer the music world. When I saw the lineup for this band, I rushed out to hear what they could do as a whole, since I was a huge fan of the bands that each of the musicians came from. And i must say, I wasn't dissapointed one bit.

Considering that Garm has one of the best rasps in Black Metal, you know the vocals on a record like this are going to be top notch, especially with the kind of music he is working with. The production is trebly at best, but this gives it a kind of eerie feeling that leaves your mind to wander in different places. Hellhammer's drumming is incredible, which I was expecting, since he is the best metal drummer around right now and has drummed for about every band known to man.

So with all this, the songs themselves are peices that eaze their way though the cd.
They are all very technical with symphonic keyboard lines making themselves known in the background. The first track of this cd, "To Thou Who Dwellest In The Night", opens up with a blast of double bass and keyboards, then transfers into Garm screaming vocals over it. But the song slows down and it turns into a slower symphonic seance that takes you mind into a completely different place. Most of the songs do the same pattern thoughout the album, with about half of the songs in Norweigan, and never get boring one bit. Not to mention, there is some chanting thrown into the mix.

I keep listening to this album over and over. It's one of those albums that you keep listening to in amazement becuase of the musical talent and song writing. I can't wait until they put out their next album, cause I'll be buying it on the first day. Completely recommended and mandatory.

                                                Overall score: 97/100
Reviewed by Brian