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Ihsahn - angL CD (album) cover

ANGL

Ihsahn

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.63 | 69 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars IHSAHN has out-done himself and has released an even better album than "The Adversary."

A few weeks ago I rated IHSAHN's first solo album with the maximum rating. Now comes the time when I would love to have the possibility to give half stars to albums, as this one, his latest release, it's actually better and deserves a full rating. "The Adversary" could survive with a 4.5.

What makes this album even better than its predecessor is the fact that the riffs sound more interesting this time around, and also that IHSAHN has, in a way, returned to his black-metal roots. Whereas in the previous record black metal's influence was noticeable but not omnipresent, in "Angl" we have a few tracks that go back totally to the times of glory of the most pagan of metal genres. The first song is actually the best example. "Misanthrope" is a total black metal opus, complete with tremolo picking, chaotic blast-beat drums, background keyboards and insane high-pitched grunts.

At the same time, IHSAHN surprises us with even more melody than last time, a more unique sound, almost free of any reference to any other band, and more to-the-point songs. The tracks are all about 5 minutes long. There's no time lost in aimless solos or unnecessary repetitions. The structures chosen are precise, brief, yet not totally regular.

The dark origins of this music can still be felt and even more so than in "The Adversary". In "Angl", there's a constant ominous atmosphere that permeates the whole record, topped with the use of high- pitched vocals in a higher percentage than in the earlier album, where there were more clean vocals to be found. Anyway, the balance is still here, and in no song is it better appreciated than in the album's best, "Elevator", with its fantastic riff that receives a very interesting twist. Another masterpiece is "Scarab", with its zigzagging riff and the surprisingly elegant second section. "Unhealer" is another one of the highlights, with guest vocals by OPETH's Mikael Akerfeldt, who gives probably his best performance of the year (including his own band's "Watershed"). The Swede shows more talent for melody than ever (maybe with the exception of his acoustic album "Damnation"), and at the same time when he growls, his voice gets more sinister, more demonic than ever. "Threnody" is another success, with its dark atmosphere and narcotic vocals.

The musicianship is, as before, magnificent. Ihsahn the man provides IHSAHN the band with all the necessary elements for success: himself, and a drummer. The Norwegian master performs every instrument very skillfully, and he's backed with probably one of the top drummers in all rock and metal, Asgeir Mickelson of SPIRAL ARCHITECT.

An early candidate for album of the year in my view, IHSAHN's "Angl" deserves to be in every prog- metal fan's collection. This is not a mere repetition of a successful formula but an improvement over an already fantastic debut.

The T | 5/5 |

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