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Ihsahn - After
A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I used to be deep into the black metal scene. Of course at some point I did stumble on Emperor. Somewhere in the mid nineties they were at the highlight of their career. I remember seeing them live at the Baroeg, or the Mos Eisley bar if you like, and remember being blown away by them. Little did I know back then that guitarist and vocalist Ihsahn was almost of the same age as I am. He just seemed a lot older and a lot wiser. Emperor’s lyrics were different and were not dealing about the Dark Lord. (No not Darth Vader). Eventually splitting up a couple of years ago, frontman Ihsahn continued to release interesting music under his own name. After, his third release even got attention in the prog edition of classic rock.
Not many people in the black metal scene have the kind of development Ihsahn has gone through. For instance the use of saxophones on ‘A Grave Inversed’. Necromantia did something similar on their Scarlet Evil Witching Black album back in ‘95. It was highly unusual back then, it is still practically unheard of today in this scene. I’m sure that lots of people in the so called true heavy metal scene will be appalled by it. Me on the other hand, I praise Ihsahn to create music on his own terms. It isn’t that he just created bunch of radio friendly love songs. Not at all. The saxophones in the aforementioned song sound quite freakish. Enough to bring nightmares upon those who are not familiar with this kind of music.
Ihsahn understands clearly that in order to be noticed, not only good song material is essential, but also a trademark sound. Emperor was pretty recognisable. On his own, he altered his sound to be more open. The guitars are more clearly present in the mix and sound way lower than back in the days of his old band. It is a good thing that he doesn’t want to repeat himself. However, many of the musical elements will be familiar to fans. There are plenty of energetic riffs, harsh and clean vocals and fast drumming. 2010 just started and the stakes have been set high. May the force be with those who still have to release albums this year. Brilliant!
Ihsahn - After
90/1001Details Candlelight Records
Released on Thursday Jan 28th, 2010
Progressive / Black Metal / Death And Progressive

Writer @Angel on Sunday Feb 7th, 2010

Tags: #Ihsahn
Tracklisting 01. The Barren Lands
02. A Grave Inversed
03. After
04. Frozen Lakes On Mars
05. Undercurrent
06. Austere
07. Heavens Black Sea
08. On The Shores
Line up Ihsahn – vocals, guitar, keyboard, piano
Lars K. Norberg – bass
Jorgen Munkeby – saxophone
Asgeir Mickelson – drums
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