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Peccatum - Lost in Reverie CD (album) cover



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5 stars PECCATUM, the side project of Vegard Sverre Tveitan (Ihsahn) from the legendary Black Metal band EMPEROR, and his wife Ihriel, a project in which Ihsahn has (once again) pushed the envelope of metal as we know it. With a very Experimental approach and a dark whimsical flavor, "Lost in Reverie" was the perfect (no exageration) work we could expect from Ihsahn and Ihriel, and what's better, it has absolutely nothing to do with other bands around. Some parts remind me of Electro Freak KLAUS SCHULZE, and some melancholic depressive bands like RIVERSIDE, and NO-MAN. PECCATUM, as a band, we can consider it as an Avant-Metal band with reminiscences of Electronic, Darkwave, Experimental, and Psychedelic music. With a little help from Knut Aelfjær (reknown jazz drummer), the strange intrincacy of PECCATUM, and the crazy minds of the frontman and woman, make "Lost In Reverie" a masterwork!

Highlights: The album as one, is a highlight in Metal...

Report this review (#43818)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been a huge fan of Ihsahn's work before the release of Lost in Reverie, mostly for EMPEROR (early PECCATUM albums are too weird to be called masterpieces). But after hearing this record I can say for sure: this guy is a pure genius. The first impression was a total shock: never in my life I've heard anything that experimental and original yet at the same time so emotional and melodic. The album succesfully combines elements of jazz, black metal, industrial, ambient and a variety of other genres - although not progressive rock in the common sense, the music is very complex and, ehm, progressive. Desolate Ever After is an experimental song: calm keyboards, industrial sounds, beautiful Ihriel's and rough Ihsahn's vocals. In the Bodiless Heart starts with a breathtaking acoustic riff and continues as a soft and mellow song. Mindblowing vocal performance and great melodies make it one of the best songs off the album. The third track, Parasite My Heart, shows what Lost in Reverie is all about. The song is very dark, creepy and complex. Piano-driven parts with female vocals change into hard-edged black metal. It took me a while to get into Veils of Blue as it features some trip-hop and I'm not fond of such music. Anyway, the track turned out to be an excellent avantgarde piece with numerous mood and riff changes. Black Star... I don't know where to start, this song is amazing. Gothic and blues, ambient and black metal all unite to create the ultimate avantgarde metal experience. The track is a masterpiece on its own. Stillness demonstrates the industrial side of the album. It has lots of creepy noises, strange sounds and fly buzzes. Very atmospheric, but not my personal favorite. The Banks of this River is Night is the kind of ending any band can wish for their album. Marvellously melodic and atmospheric song with splendid Ihriel's vocal performance and keyboards. I first heard Lost in Reverie more than a year ago and I still listen to it with great pleasure learning something new with each listen. Absolutely unique masterpiece and one of my personal all-time favorites.
Report this review (#45420)
Posted Sunday, September 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Peccatum is a very experimental group - founded by Ihsahn (Emperor) his wife Ihriel (who has done some other musical work, but nothing overly noteworthy), and her brother Lord PZ, back in the late 90s. PZ left the band earlier, though he appears on this album as a guest vocalist. Between the happy couple, they generate all sounds: some manually played by them, some simply programmed. On the first album, Ihsahn played all instruments while all three contributed to compositions, but recently Ihriel has been been playing some instruments as well. This is Ihsahn's least metal-oriented project, and (consequently) my personal favourite of Ihsahn's projects.

The style of this music is extremely intriguing, and I find it much more approachable than most prog metal. This is very avant-garde stuff! Flowing seamlessly from haunting, dry orchestral sections, to metallic, industrial experimental metal, to very melancholic, sometimes even depressing, beautiful piano segments, constantly with moving vocal work (except maybe for the upper-beat sections where Ihsahn does his trademark screech...something I am certainly not fond of). The music isn't actually overly rough or heavy, since it's his band's roots that are firmly in the black metal genre, and not necessarily their branches, moreover the traces of it in their sound are incredibly minimal but the compositional style is woven with a metal-esque flavour.

The album is wonderfully produced, with top-notch sound quality and sound effects, beautiful playing, gorgeous compositions, haunting and ethereal gripping atmospheres, with a constant unique spice. This is one of the finest avant-metal albums that I've crossed and I highly recommend it to fans of that pious subgenre.

Report this review (#132473)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Husband and wife duo Ihsahn and Ihriel's Peccatum project will probably be a disappointment to those who are hankering for something resembling Emperor's work - although there are still metal influences in the mix on Lost In Reverie, there's nothing as direct and furious as Emperor at their darkest. Instead, the atmosphere aimed for is more reminiscent of somewhat melancholic post-rock. It's a competent album which is certainly worth a try; if the experiments they try here work for you, you'll probably dig it a lot, though if it doesn't resonate with you then odds are you'll get bored partway through - I know I tend to.
Report this review (#1029707)
Posted Friday, September 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mother of the New Prog Order

I will forever give full credit to Heidi Solberg for creating the Ihsahn of today that I know and love. As much as I can respect and admire his efforts with Emperor, most of them are due to his massive impact on the world of black metal, particularly the melodic and atmospheric brand that I am so fond of. But of the man himself, it took his partnership and relationship with Heidi Solberg (aka Star of Ash, aka 'Ihriel' on this album) to really bring forward anything that would impress me greatly. And as much as Peccatum may now be dead, there is no denying its spirit lives on with Ihsahn solo albums, the ambitious and demented progressive metal sounds of records like After and Das Seelenbrechen being direct offspring of this album, although with less contribution from Heidi, which I honestly miss.

You could always see this project happening. I kind of love the pseudo-romance of husband- and-wife albums, because when two musicians are in a relationship, it just seems logical for them to have some form of musical output that is a pure combination of their styles, regardless of how diverse. And as strange as it seems, Lost In Reverie is just that. This isn't a Blackmore's Night 'quirky and romantic' marriage project, this is a dark beast of intensity, which somehow perfectly balances Ihsahn's dark and twisted black metal past with the experimental and oddly sexual electronica of Ihriel's StarOfAsh albums. This fused together comes out as a sort of twisted pseudo-gothic experi-metal album with equal amounts of intense blast beat-ery and solemn downtempo-inspired soft sections.

I say pseudo-gothic, because although the music here may be far from the gothic rock of The Cure or gothic metal of Type O Negative, there is a strangely gothic vibe to Heidi's vocals here, especially when combined with the dark romanticism of the lyrics. The midsection of 'Parasite My Heart' is one of the best examples of this, with Heidi solemnly singing deep beneath piano ambience, but I feel I'm making the unfortunate mistake of female vocals=gothic metal. This section is an obvious counterpoint to the obviously not-gothic metal intro to this song, with Ihsahn flaring out his characteristic new style of harsh vocal over a flurry of blast beats and tremolo riffs. Ihsahn's new vocals are somewhat of an acquired taste, and if I might say so, I still really haven't acquired it. His harsh vocals are a minor appearance here, most frequently opting for his cleaner baritone croon (also done with a little gothic tinge), which are a bit different from his recent cleans in his solo albums, which have been very reminiscent of Mikael 'kerfeldt. But of his harsh vocals, I can't say I enjoy the way he sounds as if he's straining the entire time he screams. They're not used frequently enough here to annoy me, but Ihsahn's harsh vocals have always been a drawback, and have actually ruined a couple of Leprous songs entirely for me.

And speaking of Leprous, I really must make a brief note here about how this record acts not only as a precursor to the Ihsahn solo albums, but to Leprous themselves. Einar Solberg was only nineteen years old when Lost In Reverie was released, and Leprous was but a blip on the world's metal radar, but he must have certainly been closely involved in it. Witnessing his big sister and one of the greats of the black metal genre produce a record in his presence that was so innovative and new, yet somehow not quite enough, must certainly be part of his devotion to finishing it. No one quite knew how brilliant of a vocalist or composer Einar was back then, but the Leprous sound is definitely imprinted in Lost In Reverie, particularly in the bursts of lush piano and contrasts with dark and demented black metal riffing.

But Lost In Reverie is in no way without its imperfections. Like a lot of Ihsahn's solo records, I often wonder just what the hell they're really trying to portray in sections. Opener 'Desolate Ever After' consists of four distinct sections, alternating between quiet and noisy, but the bridging between them is so meandering and sloppy. Although I do enjoy the industrial-like sampled percussion of the heavier sections, as well as the piano and horror-film soundtrack screeching violin in the softer parts, they really don't meld together all too well, and by the time the second loud section comes back in, I'm half asleep. In my ears, the problems with this record lie not with the duo's songwriting abilities, but more with how they present them.

It's certainly a record ahead of its time, and perfectly blends the eccentric with the melodic in a way that many artists that would come have emulated (and improved on). I'm still really waiting for a new collaboration between these two, because since this, Heidi has more or less kept to StarOfAsh, and Ihsahn has more or less kept to his solo records. Lost In Reverie is somewhat of a landmark album for a lot of modern progressive metal, but is also well written and produced in itself. Although I do prefer a lot of the music it inspired, it is not without its merits.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Report this review (#1162444)
Posted Thursday, April 17, 2014 | Review Permalink

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