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Sideshow Symphonies [Vinyl] [Limited Edition]

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Price: $25.59 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 9 Songs, 2012 $8.91  
Audio CD, 2005 $9.16  
Vinyl, Limited Edition, 2006 $25.59  

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Frequently Bought Together

Sideshow Symphonies [Vinyl] + Masquerade Infernale + The Sham Mirrors
Price for all three: $72.34

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Product Details

  • Vinyl (June 27, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2014
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Candlelight
  • ASIN: B000BBGB6K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,101 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Limited 2 LP set pressed onto white vinyl. 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 sinister theatrics. Now, on their 4th full-length release, they have become the premiere progressive, avant-garde art band. 9 tracks. Back On Black. 2005.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely sick display of dark cosmic atmospherics. September 29, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I got into Arcturus simply because of Hellhammer, THE premier drummer in all of metal. And while I've enjoyed thier previous efforts (the first releases over The Sham Mirrors and Masquerade-still quality albums in their own right) I was not expecting to love this album right off the bat, as each Arcturus release has taken a while to get me hooked.

Displaying more prominent guitar riffs than ever before, and mixing the sounds so that the vocals and drums are at the forefront, Sideshow Symphonies finds Arcturus treading new waters while still maintaining that signature Arcturus sound which justifies the oft-applied avant-garde dark metal label. It may be these same guitar riffs which make this album immediately accessible, but this addition is simply another bragging point for this refreshing band, and in no way an indication that they are going soft.

Another welcome change is the vocals of Dimmu's Simen. While many, including myself, were worried that a new vocalist would mar the sound of this progressive band, Simen charges out of the gate, proving all naysayers wrong, as he displays an array of vocal styles and moods during the opening track "Hibernation Sickness Complete". Skeptics should throw their worries right in the dumpster; this man is the perfect replacement for the seemingly irreplaceable Garm. In fact, I'm not sure I have ever heard a metal vocal performance that so carefully selects lyrical content so that when it is coupled with the vocal delivery, it creates an instrument of importance which matches that of the drums, guitars, bass, and keyboards.

The ultimate selling point for this album, though, must be the songwriting.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Nightmares come to life. May 21, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Honestly, When I heard Garm had left Arcturus, I thought this album would be crap. But I was so wrong. Simen "ICS Vortex" Hestnćs (ex-Borknagar, Dimmu Borgir) is the perfect replacement and fits perfectly with Arcturus' dark-celestial-avant-garde-neo-classical-experimental-atmospheric-theatrical-nightmare-black-metal theme perfectly. The resonance of his voice is smooth, yet shrilling, and his singing style just has that wacky, insane feeling to it, without going totally off-the-wall and sounding stupid. Garm did the same thing; Simen just fits to the rest of the band ridiculously well. He even has that wicked, creepy cackle he does once in a while. I honestly keep thinking of phantom of the opera when I listen to this... a dark, twisted, modern live musical gone horribly wrong.

Compared to previous Arcturus releases though, this is a bit more calm... not so much double-bass, heavy guitar riffing, black metal-style vocals madness. It's much more progressive and experimental, but a good portion of Arcturus' music has always been like that so it shouldn't be surprising or disappointing to dedicated fans. The song structures and lyrics are brilliant and creative as always. There are lots of pianos and keyboards with several different tones, string instruments, and various celestial swirling noises and rhythms, not to mention the incredible drumming by Hellhammer as always. It seems like the guitars and bass are a little less prominent to emphasize the many other aspects. There are a few angelic female vocals (by Silje Wergeland) here and there, and quite a bit of Simen harmonizing with himself to give even more of that evil-theatre feeling.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Futuristic, symphonic, theatrical, and extreme November 9, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Arcturus' new album is another amazing piece of work, which could only be expected by a band consisting of so many uniquely talented musicians. Even though their longtime vocalist Garm decied to step down in order to fully concentrate on his own band Ulver and some other side projects, the band managed to find a replacement whose vocals fit the music on Sideshow Symphonies like a glove. As a matter of fact, like many other Arcturus fans, I didn't believe it possible to fill the shoes of someone as charismatic and unique as Garm, but when it was announced that Spiral Architect vocalist Oyvind Haegeland was recruited, I was ecstatic, Spiral Architect being one of the godliest bands in the universe. It sure would be amazing to hear Haegeland on another progressive release, but as fate would have it, Haegeland moved to Sweden, thus making it impossible to stay in the band. So the band once again started looking for a new singer...

Enter Simen Hestnaes of Borknagar and Dimmu Borgir fame, but older Arcturus fans will also remember him with his work on Arcturus' second album La Masquerade Infernale where Simen sang lead vocals on a track and did back-up singing on two others. I was sceptical until the last minute, but the moment I heard Simen's deeply moving voice on "Hibernation Sickness Complete", the first track, I was convinced that no one else could have done a better job. Granted he sounds completely different from Garm, Sideshow Symphonies seems like it was especially designed for his voice where he has the freedom to change between harrowing whispers to grittier raw vocals or to downright dramatic passages dripping with sheer emotion. The timbre in his voice gives the tracks a very dark feel which ultimately matches the flow of the album.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Album -- Atrocious Vinyl Transfer
I have been an avid Arcturus fan for several years, since 'La Masquerade Infernale,' and was quite pleasantly surprised by this album when it originally came out on CD. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Burnley Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic and intense!!!
This album has been in my collection since around 2006 and it's one that I always like to share with people who I know are not used to this style of music. Read more
Published on June 15, 2009 by Janet B. Willis
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Example of Musicians Who Can Be Categorized Making Something...
I use the term "dark metal" because this is NOT a black metal album. This is a metal album with black "tinges" to it. Read more
Published on April 21, 2008 by James Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute perfection
Being a Dimmu Borgir fan, I purchased this work solely on the merits of Simen Hestnaes' vocal work with that band, as well as that of the inimitable Hellhammer. Read more
Published on May 19, 2007 by Elizabeth Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Tis a pretty good album. It gets a thumbs up from me.
I've heard a lot of people say they do not like this album at all. Most say so just because Kristoffer is no longer doing vocals. Read more
Published on December 30, 2006 by J. Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Progressive Futuristic metal
One of the main reasons why I have checked out the great music of Arcturus is because Hellhammer (Jan Axel Von Blomberg) is the drummer. Read more
Published on August 11, 2006 by Richard Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot label this great masterful piece of art!
Let's clear one thing up right now. You do NOT have to be a black metal fan in the least to enjoy this freaking masterpiece! I will admit I have one bias. THE VOCALS OF HESTNAES! Read more
Published on April 6, 2006 by DLE
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff
If you want an album that's as good as La Masquerade and Sham Mirrors, you won't be disappointed. This album is certainly in the same vain as their last two, and while it isn't as... Read more
Published on October 19, 2005 by P. Binh
5.0 out of 5 stars Full front on
This, kids, is what metal is all about. I'm very tempted to just say that if you don't own this album, you're stupid. However, I won't. Read more
Published on October 6, 2005 by Mr. Ratbag
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the best of this year....
"Sideshow Symphonies" reminds me more of "La Masquerade Infernale" than "The Sham Mirrors".

It's a wonderful piece of eclectic black progressive metal. Read more
Published on September 25, 2005 by Warren Doyle
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