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Ihsahn - The Adversary CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.01 | 78 ratings

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3 stars The Adversary is the debut solo album from former Emperor frontman and guitarist Ihsahn. Ihsahn had since the breakup of Emperor in 2001 concentrated on his project Peccatum which he had with his wife Ihriel but obviously he wanted to make a real solo album. As the other members of Emperor pursued a more brutal and simple Death Metal style with their new band Zyklon ( great band by the way. Very recommendable if you like brutal death metal), Ihsahn who was ever the emotional one opted to make more avant garde metal music with both raspy and clean vocals. Emperorīs last album Prometheus - The Discipline of Fire & Demise which was released in 2001 showed that Emperor had indeed moved towards a more avant garde extreme metal appoach compared to their earlier more raw black metal albums ( mind you that Emperor is a second wave Norwegian black metal band and their sound is not as primitive or raw as first generation black metal bands like Mayhem or Darkthrone, in fact it wouldnīt be wrong to call Emperor symphonic with their omnipresent use of keyboards).

Emperor released four studio albums and a couple of split EPīs in their active career (1991-2001) and they are all considered classic black metal albums. Emperor was a part of the feared Norwegian black metal scene in the early nineties where murder and church burnings was the order of the day. Guitarist Samoth spend some time in jail for his part in a church burning where infamous convicted murderer ( convicted for the bestial murder on the 10th of August 1993 of Euronymous who was the original guitarist in Mayhem and founder of Deathlike Silence Productions) Varg Vikernes ( Burzum) also took part. Original Emperor drummer Faust ( Bard Eithun) also spend a long time in jail for the murder of a young homosexual man who came on to him. As you might have guessed Emperor was a really extreme band who took no prisoners.

Ihsahn was the creative mind in Emperor and even though their music belonged firmly in the black metal genre there is definitely a level of sophistication that was very refreshing at the time. Where other symphonic black metal bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth were despised by the TRUE black metal fans Emperor were always respected for their artistic approach to the genre. Ihsahnīs sophisticated way of making metal is continued on The Adversary. The album is very diverse with both raspy and clean vocals, melodic black metal parts and more classic heavy metal parts. There are also definite prog tendencies in the music.

Iīll name a couple of standout tracks on the album: Invocation which starts the album is a real killer song. Lots of great hateful emotion and when the blast beat section kicks in Iīm sold. Called by the Fire is very influenced by classic heavy metal. Just listen to the opening riff. There are some great melodic and high pitched vocals in this song. Homecoming is the most melodic song on the album and has guest vocals from Garm ( Ulver). He has the most pleasant voice and Iīm really happy with this song. The ending 10 minute epic The Pain is Still Mine starts with subtle piano and builds into a monster of a song before going back to the piano part again. Note the high pitched King Diamond like vocals near the end of the song. These are great songs and the rest are also good.

The musicianship is good on the album. Ihsahn plays just about everything and sings too while the drums are played by Asgeir Mickelson ( Spiral Architect, Borknagar).

The production is ok, but I must admit that I find it a bit weak. Itīs one of those productions where itīs an aquired taste if you like it though, so listen for yourself.

The cover art is pretty dark and suits the music fine.

I was never the biggest black metal freak ( with a couple of exceptions) and therefore Emperor was never my favorite band despite their innovativet nature and powerful sound ( They are pretty good though). Ihsahnīs solo effort canīt be compared to Emperor though as it is much more melodic and because it only has hints of black metal. This is mainly a melodic metal album with both raspy and clean vocals not a black metal album. Most of the time Iīm entertained very well and there are generally no weak moments in the music. This is not my favorite style of metal though and my rating will be 3 stars.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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