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Ihsahn - The Adversary CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.10 | 94 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars IHSAHN's music is true progressive black-metal, straight from Norway. I had been looking for such a band for a long time, and now I finally found it.

IHSAHN, mastermind and leader of black-metal legends EMPEROR, plays all the instruments on this album with the exception of the drums, which are played by Norwegian musician Asgeir Mickelson.

The music in this CD contains all the usual elements of black-metal: blast beats, high-pitched guttural vocals, ultra-fast tremolo picking, invocations to the dark forces. Add big orchestral effects to these and you have EMPEROR.

But this is not EMPEROR. This is true progressive metal. We have here outstanding musicianship, irregular, longer song structures, sudden tempo changes, amazing dynamics, an alternation of clean and black-metal vocals, atmospheric effects, and all with a great sense of melody and direction.

That wouldn't be enough to give this album a good rating if it wasn't for the fact that all of that is accomplished perfectly, creating a cohesive, coherent, epic body of music that constitutes probably the best non-pure black-metal I've ever heard. IHSAHN knows when to alternate violence with passages of musical delicacy, with pianos playing piano and keyboards adding magic to the scene. The tracks are never repetitive or boring, and all of them, even being multi-sectioned, never lack coherence and always sound purposefully written. The songs flow smoothly, from the beginning to the end of the album, with great balance between noise and melody.

Another factor that adds enormously to the experience is IHSAHN's high sense of musicianship and great skills, whether he's playing the guitar or the keys, or even the bass. His singing is good, his shrieking never damaging the ear and his clean vocals never sounding bland. But it is the drummer who really rounds up this successful album: Mickelson, of SPIRAL ARCHITECT fame, plays with such a level f accuracy, precision, with such a great sense of momentum, with amazing skills and impressive creativity, that his performance turns into one of the highlights of "The Adversary".

If you want to check this band out and want to have an idea of their (his) sound, take black metal music, mostly EMPEROR; add some DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X, a little bit of MERCYFUL HATE, even some OPETH, some atmospherics a la PINK FLOYD, throw some elements from other music genres in the blender (like theatrical Broadway-like music as in track nine) and then you have an imperfect idea of what IHSAHN sounds like, imperfect because to really create the IHSAHN sound you have to add the enormous amount of originality the Norwegian master incorporates in his music.

This is an excellent album, one I don't have any problems giving a 5 star rating to. A must for fans of black metal who like other genres of metal, a must for fans of progressive-metal than can take black- metal vocals, a must for fans of extreme music with lots of melody and technical prowess. In a word: essential.

The T | 5/5 |


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