The cacophony of the music could become overwhelming and Arcturus does a fantastic job of interweaving strong melodies within the chaotic flurries of sound, specifically in “Shipwrecked Frontier Pioneer.” Some three minutes into the song, note the great transition as the band drops out of the mix, leaving just the drums. Within a few seconds, the chorus laden guitars slowly begin working their way back in, followed shortly thereafter by the sinister and creeping vocals. And, the song continues to build from there, incorporating lush and operatic female vocals that send this song to super nova. Amazing composition as the whole song flows through a complex array of tense mood swings and textural movements. It would be easy for this song to get lost up its ass, but the band did a great job creating an epic tune without it becoming longwinded.
As I mentioned, Arcturus could have made Sideshow Symphonies so avant garde that it would have been unlistenable, but they did a masterful job of balancing the beautifully melodic prog aspects and the metallic muscle with loads of Broadway Theater. This album has camped out in my collection for a number of years, getting spun from time to time, and always leaving me in a state of befuddlement. The album is over the top, but not so much so that it can’t be listened to in the context of one’s average day. Sure, you can sit back with a pair of high tech headphones and listen to every nuance to the music . . . much like I do, but Sideshow Symphonies works well as background music as you toil through the more mundane aspects of life. Though, I highly recommend the former option and embrace the act of listening to music, appreciating the art form for what it can do to the emotions and the stimulus that it can create in the brain. Oh . . . and if you can track it down, another strong recommendation is for the vinyl edition as it comes in a double gatefold sleeve with white marble discs. How cool is that?!?!? - Pope JTE
Buy here: Sideshow Symphonies