After Emperor's demise in 2001, the now seperate band members haven't excactly sitting still. Samoth and Trym continued their metallic onslaught in Zyklon while main composer Ihsahn took a more experimental route continuing his work with Peccatum.
With Peccatum now defunct and Ihsahn and Ihriel going their seperate musical ways (apparently they are still married) now is the time for Ihsahn's first solo outing. (not
counting his synthy Thou shalt Suffer album)
So, what has the big I up his sleeve this time.
Well, a very good and sometimes brilliant musical voyage to get to the point quickly. This album actually takes off where Emperor left after Prometheus. Said album was already almost a 1 man effort and listening to his solo album it absolutely makes sense.
Again taking the symphonic, blackish, thrashy, melodic metal and sometimes even
prog route Ihsahn continues to amaze me. Except for the drums (which are skillfully beaten by Asgeir Mickelson of Spiral Architect, Lunaris and Borknagar fame) the whole thing is composed and played by the man himself.
I think I do hear Garm of Ulver singing in one track, but that's it for guest appearances then. (brilliant track by the way..)
While this is mostly a metal effort, traces of Peccatum's experimental sides are heard here and there, but electronica is forgone for this album. Nevertheless it's a varied and skillfull outing, with Ihsahn's mastery at the guitar and his composing and arranging skills taking the spotlight over and over again.
What can I say more? If Emperor and especially the later albums are your thing then you should simply own this. It is at times more demanding for traditionalists but if you could also bare Peccatum's last 2 efforts than this should be a relief for you.
Two things left: 1, the production is a bit on the thin side, especially the drums could have used a bit more body.
2, after Emperor's special tour dates this summer: get the hell back in the studio again, because there is clearly a lot of life left in all of you.
Probably wishful thinking, but this comes in second best.
2. Called By The Fire (4:57)
3. Citizen (5:22)
4. Homecoming (4:20)
5. Astera Ton Proinon (5:09)
6. Panem Et Circenses (4:54)
7. And He Shall Walk In Empty Places (4:51)
8. Will You Love Me Now? (5:03)
9. The Pain Is Still Mine (10:19)
Asgeir Mickelson - drums