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A Norwegian avant-garde metal band. Arcturus formed in 1987 as a black metal band named Mortem, founded by keyboardist Steinar Johnsen, Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg (Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir), and bassist/vocalist Marius Vold. in 1994 Marius left the band and was replaced by bassist Hugh Mingay, vocalist Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg (ex-Borknagar, Ulver), and guitarist Carl August Tidemann.
Arcturus released their first album Aspera Hiems Symfonia in 1995. Aspera was the only true black metal album Arcturus would release, yet still contained the experimental elements which would later define Arcturus' unique sound. Soon after it's release Tidermann left the band and was replaced by Knut Magne Valle.
In 1997 Arcturus released their breakthrough record, La Masquerade Infernale. Infernale was a huge step away from the doom/black metal sound of Aspera, shifting to a more definitive avant-garde style, incorporating eerie carnival organs and lyrical themes revolving around classical theatre and literature. La Masquerade Infernale also saw the first appearance of Simen "ICS Vortex" Hestnaes as a guest vocalist on Master of Disguise, The Chaos Path, and Painting My Horror; Hestnaes' vocal acrobatics on The Chaos Path would make it Arcturus' most popular song.
The next 5 years saw only silence from Arcturus as they recorded and, in 2002, released their third album, The Sham Mirrors. The Sham Mirrors represented a complete departure from previous albums, abandoning the classical elements of La Masquerade Infernale in favor of a modern, "sci-fi" influenced sound, including outer-space themed lyrics instead of the semi-Satanic sounds of earlier works. Track 6, Radical Cut, was almost a reminiscence of Arcturus' black metal roots, featuring renowned Emperor vocalist Vegard "Ihsahn" Tveitan.
Arcturus' final record, entitled Sideshow Symphonies, was released in 2005, and saw the departure of longtime vocalist Garm and, after 9 years, the return of ICS Vortex, now the band's lead vocalist. With the advent of Hestnaes came yet another change in Arcturus' sound, shifting from the obvious sci-fi motif of The Sham Mirrors to a dreamy, meandering aesthetic, featuring quieter guitars, prominent vocals, and reduced use of synthesizers. Sideshow Symphonies, along with La Masquerade Infernale, is considered to be one of the finest examples of avant-garde metal to date.
Arcturus released their DVD, Shipwrecked In Oslo, in 2006. The DVD features their set performed at the Sonic Solstice Festival, a photo slideshow, and rehearsal footage.
On April 16th, 2007, it was announced that the band would be breaking up, and more detailed were revealed in an official statement released on the band's website on April 17th. The official statement was written by all of the band members, confirming rumours that had been circulating after their Melbourne concert, the last one of the Australian tour, in whichHestnæs introduced the show with the words "Welcome to the last Arcturus show- ever." The statement went on to say that the split was a 'decision we made some time ago,' and that because of ongoing 'things' in their careers and lives, the members could no longer 'find the time to continue working with this band.' The statement closed with a tribute to the fans of the band, "We are humble and grateful to all the people that have supported and loved us over the years." The final lines being the names of the final lineup of the band that was Arcturus.
Arcturus deserves to have a real definition on this site.
by ArcturusForever November 27, 2007
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