Norway has been home to a very long list of groundbreaking metal bands, many of whom are sadly no longer with us. Arcturus are one of the survivors. Their roots go back to approximately 1990, and although their demise has been rumored more than once, they continue to forge ahead. As they have moved forward, they have evolved, transforming themselves through a persistent desire to experiment with the boundaries of metal, and with black metal in particular.
Their last release at this writing was a critically acclaimed 2006 DVD entitled Shipwrecked In Oslo, which captured the band’s 2005 live performance at the Sonic Solstice Fest in Oslo, Norway. The line-up for the performance consisted of Steinar “Sverd” Johnsen (keyboards), Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg (drums), Knut Magne Valle (guitar), Hugh “Skoll” Mingay (bass), Simen “ICS Vortex” Hestnæs (vocals), and Tore Moren (guitar).
Now, the Finnish label Blood Music has taken the soundboard recording of the concert and professionally re-edited and remastered the audio for release on CD and vinyl.
Previously, Blood Music premiered the first of the album’s 15 songs — “Ad Absurdum” — and today we bring you the final track, “Raudt og svart”, which originally appeared on the band’s brilliant 1996 debut album Aspera Hiems Symfonia.
“Raudt og svart” was a fitting choice for the concert’s concluding song. It begins with the air of a carnival and ends in an atmosphere of the majestic, moving from bounding irregular riffs and rumbling bass notes through cutting black metal storm bursts to sweeping celestial synths and a slow, dramatic guitar melody. ICS Vortex both howls like a mountain wolf and sends his strong clean voice to the skies. The song also includes a striking guitar solo that’s not to be missed.
It’s an unusual song, especially considering its 1996 vintage, but this vibrant live performance of it will get its hooks in you — and they’ll dig deeper the more you listen. So will this album. Feast your ears on the song below (and we’re including that stream of “Ad Abusurdum” as well).
Shipwrecked In Oslo is scheduled for release on June 3, 2014, and can be pre-ordered through the Blood Music store at the link below.
P.S. Arcturus are now in the process of recording a new studio album.