Aspera Hiems Symfonia

Aspera Hiems Symfonia is the debut album by the Norwegian black metal band Arcturus. Four songs are re-recorded versions from the Constellation EP and four are new songs. The album title is in Latin and means "Harsh Winter Symphony". This was the only black metal album Arcturus released, though it still contains many of the experimental elements that are seen in their following albums, which shifted into the genres of avant-garde metal and progressive metal. The music is relatively down-tempo, atmospheric black metal, much more restrained in character and lyrical content than major black metal acts such as Mayhem and Darkthrone. It has a somewhat lo-fi, abraded "necro" sound to the production. The lyrical themes revolve around nature, winter, astronomy, and Viking culture and mythology.

In 2002, the album was remastered, along with previous releases Constellation and My Angel as Aspera Hiems Symfonia/Constellation/My Angel. The remaster has a stronger, clearer sound that restores many of the lower-frequency elements of the music lost in the original mastering. Although Arcturus claims nothing was re-recorded, some vocal and instrumental sections were obviously either re-recorded or spliced in from other takes of the material, such as the solo at the beginning of "The Bodkin and the Quietus" and the clean vocal lines on "Wintry Grey".

Track listing

All song written by Arcturus

  1. "To Thou Who Dwellest in the Night" – 6:46
  2. "Wintry Grey" – 4:34
  3. "Whence and Wither Goest The Wind" – 5:15
  4. "Raudt og Svart" (Red and Black) – 5:49
  5. "The Bodkin and the Quietus (...To Reach the Stars)" – 4:36
  6. "Du Nordavind" (Thou Northwind) – 4:00
  7. "Fall of Man" – 6:06
  8. "Naar kulda Tar (Frostnettenes Prolog)" (When the cold takes) – 4:21


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