IHSAHN – The Adversary
Truth is I’ve never really been a big Black Metal fan… Yet as I continue to explore music I keep coming across bands such as Enslaved or Arcturus, who though being progressive, are definitely footed in their Black Metal roots. Ihsahn (From the Emperor fame) is of no exception, combining black metal with progressive genius to craft what will likely be one of the top albums of 2006.
From the opening track `Invocation’ I was immediately captivated by the blend of, furious black metal vocals, ambient keys, amazing guitars, a solid bass, and skillful drum work. The lulling symphonic breakdown midway through is a fantastic mood setting piece especially with the somber voice of Ihsahn crooning…
Now I won’t bother going song for song but be aware that this sets a high standard for the rest of the album to follow… Luckily the rest of the album does not disappoint, each song is written to perfection, holding its own unique sound and style.
Ihsahn is an incredibly talented musician and an even more talented composer. He plays the instruments with the exception of the drum work with which is handled by the exceptionally talented, Asgeir Mickelson. The Guitar work is probably the finest I’ve heard in BM (just listen to the solo in, Called by the Fire), the keys are effective in their delivery and provide great atmosphere, the bass is a nice backdrop to the overall sound, and the drumming is just perfect, specially during the slower parts where he is given a chance to explore more creative rhythms. Last but certainly not least is Ihsahn’s vocal range… from venomous shrieks to singing and everything in between. His range is overwhelming, transitioning perfectly between his various styles.
As a big King Crimson fan I can more than appreciate the progressive influences that show up throughout this CD, the blending of Metal and Progressive Rock truly is the greatest thing to happen to music in the last few decades. As long as artists like Ihsahn are unafraid to push the limits of music, there is no telling what amazing creations they will come up with next.
I would definitely recommend this album for those who enjoyed Enslaved’s last few ventures, (Ruun, Isa and Below the Lights) and for the very few people who have heard of the amazing Norwegian band, Frantic Bleep.
Favorite Songs: Citizen, Homecoming, Will You Love Me Now?, and Invocation.
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