- Released: June 2, 2003
- Label: Candlelight
- 1.Master of Disguise
- 2.Ad Astra
- 3.The Chaos Path
- 4.Masquerade Infernale, La
- 6.The Throne of Tragedy
- 7.Painting My Horror
- 8.Of Nails and Sinners
Arcturus: Knut M. Valle (guitar); Hugh Steven James Mingay (bass guitar); Jan Axel Von Blomberg (drums); G. Wolf (loops, sampler); Steiner "Sverd" Johnsen.
Personnel: Simen Hestnaes (vocals, background vocals); Knut M. Valle, Carl August Tidemann (guitar); Vegard Johnsen (violin); Dorthe Dreier (viola); Hans Josef Groh (cello); Erik Olivier Lancelot (flute); Idun Felberg (cornet); Steiner "Sverd" Johnsen (synthesizer); Svein Haugen (double bass); Gabriele Wolf (loops, sampler).
Additional personnel: Simen Hestnaes (vocals); Carl August Tidemann.
Recording information: Endless (12/1996-06/1997); Jester Studio (12/1996-06/1997).
Photographer: Per Heimly.
Unknown Contributor Role: Gabriele Wolf.
Certainly one of the more eclectic releases in the metal genre in some time, La Masquerade Infernale will grasp the listener (who is most likely expecting another generic black metal album) within only a short while. First of all, all growling, screaming, yelping, etc. is gone for the most part; the vocalist has now adopted a semi-operatic style. As the album progresses, one will be confronted by instrumental tracks, industrial-ish sounds, and jungle beats. Poetry, theater (as shown by the lyrics and insert art) and avant-garde musics have most definitely played a large part in the culmination of this album. However, the real question to be asking is, does it work? Somewhat. Considering that metal rarely veers into uncharted water such as this, the album is a breathe of fresh air for those that have grown tired of standard styling and boundaries. Yet it often seems that the album sacrifices the actual metal in order to include alternate attributes. While it's a very metallic album, the riffs and overall song patterns are quite uninspiring, leaving one to think that the album possibly uses these techniques to cover up songs that are inherently transparent. But overall, this is not a bad piece of work. Arcturus has the potential to become quite a seminal band, especially considering La Masquerade Infernale's popularity among metal fans, but the actual album leaves a bit more to be desired. ~ Marc van der Pol