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Ihsahn - Eremita CD (album) cover

EREMITA

Ihsahn

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.67 | 51 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer
4 stars On Eremita, Ihsahn basically improves all of the qualities that made After such a great progressive metal record.

In the vast realm of progressive metal, very few are as interesting as Ihsahn who's been constantly progressing his compositional style since he debuted with the infamous Emperor, and it's been great watching him get better and better. All of those years of tinkering with composition has led to his fourth album, Eremita.

Ihsahn's trademark high-pitched raspy vocals and warm clean singing, and his recently employed 8-string guitar work, are all present here as they were on After, but the improvement lies in each song's structure (which has overall become more progressive) and infectious, emotional, melancholic melodies. Also, where the previous album slowed down considerably and become more relaxed at around the middle portion onward, leaving the heavier tracks at the beginning, Eremita balances the fast and heavy with the slow and beautiful quite well, constantly shifting and not staying stagnant in one particular feel while still remaining coherent.

Like with After, Norwegian composer, sax-innovator Jorgen Munkeby is featured periodically on this album with either smooth, beautiful sax melodies or harsh avant-jazz noodling, both of which work as well as they did before. In addition, eclectic metal mastermind Devin Townsend makes a vocal appearance as does the amazing Leprous vocalist Einar Soldberg, while guitarist Jeff Loomis lends his talent to lead guitar on one song. Though these guest appearances are few and far between, they do have an interesting impact on the music and ultimately makes for a slightly more diverse album than would be otherwise.

Each song has at least one standout melody, multiple interesting riffs, and eclectic composition style overall. "The Paranoid" is one of the more consistently heavy songs and has a slightly cheesy chorus ("the shame feeds the anger feeds the shame feeds the anger feeds the shame"?) but after the initial kitschiness wears off, it becomes quite infectious and will be repeating itself in your head all day. "The Eagle and the Snake" is a nine-minute epic that constantly shifts from being slow and rhythmic to emotional to fast and heavy, and is really a chore to dissect mentally but is well worth the effort. "Catharsis", a personal favorite, is just one constant eclectic and atmospheric crescendo that builds up to an amazing soft vocal melody. The second epic, "The Grave", is absolutely crushingly heavy and slow funeral dirge, featuring constant avant sax improvisations by Jorgen Munkeby, and there really isn't anything more to say about it other than it is really damn heavy, bordering on doom metal.

If you've been a fan of Ihsahn up to this point, you'll most likely enjoy Emerita quite a bit as well. I'd personally consider this album to be After 2.0, because of the increased progressive elements and overall stylistic intuition. If you've not checked out anything by this artist but enjoy eclectic progressive metal with a thick trace of blackness, you'd best do yourself a favor and pick up Eremita, because it has "Best of 2011" potential written all over it.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |

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