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Disguised Masters

Norway Country of Origin: Norway

Disguised Masters
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Type: Compilation
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Avant-Garde, Black, Progressive, Symphonic
1. White Tie Black Noise
2. Deception Genesis
3. Du Nordavind
4. Alone
5. The Throne Of Tragedy
6. La Masquerade Infernale
7. Master Of Disguise
8. Painting My Horror
9. Ad Astra
10. Ad Astra

Review by Jack on February 22, 2002.

I love Arcturus and more to the point I love Garm (Trickster G., and any other variety of names one can come up with for the façade that is Arcturus and the Deception Circus). “La Masquerade Infernale” was and is a fantastic release from Arcturus that could never be pigeon-holed, but which some preferred to coin to the phrase of ‘phantom-of-the-opera-avant-garde-theatrical-metal’ or something similar. It was an album that turned people’s perceptions of what metal should be around and around. In place of the keyboard symphonies were mechanised string and acoustic sections that added drama and intrigue to an already mind-blowing album. “Disguised Masters” is the remix version of “La Masquerade Infernale” and it is in its own right an extraordinary piece of art from Garm and co.

On the back of the CD, next to the track listing is a little disclaimer from Arcturus that reads: “This is not the new Arcturus album. It is a collection of oddities conceived in the period after “La Masquerade Infernale”... This is a product of musical disjunction. General dementia required.” That is a perfect summary of what “Disguised Masters” is all about.

There was an original outcry from some of the more ‘pure’ in thoughts over “Disguised Masters” when it was released. Screams in agony over Garm rapping and the techno/dance club atmosphere that “Disguised Masters” invoked had many a metal purist screaming for retribution from the metal police. Haha. One of the reasons I enjoy “Disguised Masters” as much as I do, is exactly for that reason; it forces people to think and perceive music outside the square they reside in.

“Disguised Masters” is an overly complex work and takes tracks from “La Masquerade Infernale”, strips them down to their bare minimum and completely reworks them towards some weird take that Arcturus has determined. ‘Alone’ for example was considered by some Arcturus fans to be the best track on “La Masquerade Infernale”; ‘Alone’ circa 1999 is a new oddity in weirdness that has totally been revamped under a ‘Intellecto/Valle Darktrip’ remix which is essence makes ‘Alone’ more of an ambient track. No vocals here folks. The opening track to “La Masquerade Infernale”; ‘Master of Disguise’, has been given the once over via the ‘Phantom FX with ganstafications by S.C.N.’ (if you thought ganstafications implied gangster Homey G. rap style then you are dead on the money), rap is the main point of impact with ‘Master of Disguise’ now. ‘Painting My Horror’ has been transformed through the ‘G. Wolf levitation mix’ and would be a nice track to warm down to at a rave. Also nice for keeping up to speed on your French.

The general mad cap genius displayed by Arcturus on “La Masquerade Infernal” is readily prevalent on “Disguised Masters”, just in a more contemporary fashion, more ‘street/urban style’. I reckon it is phenomenal and utterly awesome. But then again, it will not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Bottom Line: Weird and wacky “Disguised Masters” will not appeal to everyone. However, if you are the sort of fellow, who likes to experience the weird and wacky then give this baby a spin.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Musicianship: 9.3
Atmosphere: 8.2
Production: 9.4
Originality: 9.5
Overall: 8.7

Rating: 9 out of 10