Aspera Hiems Symfonia
(Century Media - 1996)
This album proved itself more than worthy of my excitement and has risen to be one of my top 5 albums of all time. The cover says "... dark and severe symphonic art...featuring members of Ulver, Mayhem and Ved Buens Ende". Some classify this as black or ambient, I call it melodic black metal with classical and dark wave influences. This album gives a new meaning to the word majestic and hasn't got a boring minute in the whole album. Black raspy vocals, loads of keyboards, male choirs, some gothic sections, and packed with fascinating arrangements. Some of the latter tracks are almost completely dark wave and there are quite a few great heavy metal style guitar solos that somehow don't sound out of place at all. Another album that I have nothing but praise for. Get this one if you don't have it!
La Masquerade Infernale
(Music for Nations - 1997)
If any of you are getting tired of everything sounding basically the same, your ship has come home. This is an extremely original avante garde masterpiece of dark music. I would call this a black opera sounding sometimes vampiric. First of all they chucked all the black rasps and growls, the vocals here are all clean. They vary from a low monk-ish stern voice to a plain Decoryah style clean vocal and a whole collection of other voices that play their part in this masquerade (e.g. a devilish/operatic soprano that seems to be grinning as it prances around with the music). The music consists of dramatic avante garde melodic tapestries of music that are pure genius. This is extremely keyboard driven music with many violins and maybe a couple of other instruments. You have to listen up in order to separate the guitars here. Not for everyone but definitely a masterpiece that staggers the creative mind. The title of the CD describes the music very well. It grows on every listen - this is a huge step forward since their first album. A MUST buy!

The Last Exit 1996-

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