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Ihsahn - angL CD (album) cover

ANGL

Ihsahn

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.65 | 67 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Angl' - Ihsahn (8/10)

Once the front man of Emperor, guitarist and vocalist Ihsahn has come a long way from the primal times of early black metal. Now a respected individual in both the black and progressive metal circles, he is certainly one to impress with this; his second release. While 'Angl' can feel a bit pressured at times, a good performance and great songwriting takes Ihsahn's blackened roots and projects it to a whole new level of creative spirit.

One of the first things that the typical metal fan will notice with this album is appearance of Opeth vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt on the third track; entitled 'Unhealer.' As one of my personal favourite vocalists, Akerfeldt does a great job of using a warm, clean voice to counterpoint Ihsahn's screams. While I wasn't a fan of Emperor before getting 'Angl' (I am now,) hearing that Akerfeldt was on this album was a great way to convince me to buy the album, and the performance works out to be much more than just a sales pitch.

The songwriting is kept under pretty average song lengths and structures, although there are instances- such as in the song Elevator- where the music trails into something soft and different. There are amazing riffs aplenty here, which makes the fact that there isn't a whole lot of technical experimentation work with the album instead of against it. That said, this is not the most ground-breaking piece of metal in the world. Instead, it takes existing black metal conventions, and transforms it into something fresh and layered. While the majority of the vocals are 'extreme' in nature, it's a nice change for him to go clean for a bit, which adds another dimension of melody.

Ihsahn has done something here that is just short of being a masterpiece. Had it been for a little more detail to album flow and continuity and one or two more highlight tracks (there are already plenty to mention) 'Angl' would have surely become a landmark in the history of metal. While the mark might have been hit here, I have no doubt that in the future, Ihsahn has the potential not only to hit, but absolutely demolish the barriers of what black metal can do. A great, rocking progressive metal album.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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