Aspera Hiems Symfonia

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Aspera Hiems Symfonia
Studio album by Arcturus
Released June 3, 1996
Recorded July-August 1995 at Panser Studios
Genre Black metal, experimental metal, progressive metal
Length 41:28
Label Ancient Lore Creations
Producer Arcturus
Arcturus chronology
Aspera Hiems Symfonia
La Masquerade Infernale

Aspera Hiems Symfonia is the debut studio album by the Norwegian avant-garde metal band Arcturus. 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 and progressive metal. Four songs are re-recorded versions of the Constellation EP and the other four are new songs.


The album title is in Latin and means "harsh winter's symphony". 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 or tinny 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 considerably 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,[citation needed] some vocal and instrumental sections are considerably clearer and were likely either re-recorded or spliced in from alternate 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[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "To Thou Who Dwellest in the Night"   06:46
2. "Wintry Grey"   04:34
3. "Whence & Whither Goest the Wind"   05:15
4. "Raudt og svart"   05:50
5. "The Bodkin & the Quietus (...To Reach the Stars)"   04:36
6. "Du nordavind"   04:00
7. "Fall of Man"   06:06
8. "Naar kulda tar (Frostnettenes prolog)"   04:21
Total length:

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic wrote, "Aspera is a powerhouse album chock full of charged riffs, sinister chants and howls and some wonderfully foreboding atmospheres", and called it "one of the best metal albums ever."[1]


Additional personnel and staff[edit]


  1. ^ Reesman, Bryan. "Aspera Hiems Symfonia - Arcturus: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards: AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 August 2012.