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PECCATUM

Experimental/Post Metal • Norway


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Peccatum biography
PECCATUM is an avant garde metal band from Norway. It's formed by Ihsahn (EMPEROR), his wife Ihriel (STAR OF ASH) and Lord PZ (SOURCE OF TIDE) in 1998. Their style is generally known as "avant garde metal"; an experimental type of music generated mostly by old black metal musicians. PECCATUM carries a very melancholic tune, a vast emptiness inside the music, with various influences from classical, fusion, black metal, doom metal, and generally soft music (long and depressive piano passages, acoustic guitars, various others). The music itself, coupled with incredible vocals, makes one feel empty inside. PECCATUM carries the vocal styles similar to EPHEL DUATH, and is often found close to GREEN CARNATION, DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE.

PECCATUM was found in 1998, as mentioned above. Their first album, "Strangling From Within" was published in 1999, followed by an EP named "Oh My Regrets!" in 2000, which was followed by their second full-length, "Amor Fati". Lord PZ parted his ways with the band's most well-known album "Lost In Reverie", 2001. 2004 was the time when PECCATUM produced another EP named "The Moribund People". "Lost In Reverie" is most probably the most well-known product because of the amazing diversity of instrumentalization, the dark themes, the half-conceptual flow, the combination of black metal with other, many other instruments. "Strangling From Within" appears to be a too experimental album to start with, but, it stands as tall as "Lost In Reverie", whilst "Amor Fati" seems to be left in their shadow a little bit.

PECCATUM is for all those that are not afraid of discovery, diversity, darkness, melancholia, emptyness, and talent. These people produce far more original music than the most "typical progressive bands" that are out there. Highly recommended.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
As a movement that is produced by olden black metal musicians that wanted to respond the claims that they could not play "music", the avant garde metal movement contains very different elements within their music. PECCATUM is a superb band among those that belong to this movement, and deserves a place in prograrchives. (in my opinion, that is)

Peccatum official website

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Buy PECCATUM Music


Lost in ReverieLost in Reverie
The End Records 2004
Audio CD$4.70
$2.91 (used)
Strangling From WithinStrangling From Within
Candlelight 2001
Audio CD$14.99
$5.70 (used)
Moribund PeopleMoribund People
EP
The End Records 2005
Audio CD$10.40
$1.67 (used)
Amor FatiAmor Fati
Import
Candlelight 2000
Audio CD$113.53
$16.94 (used)
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PECCATUM discography


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PECCATUM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 16 ratings
Strangling From Within
1999
3.32 | 12 ratings
Amor Fati
2000
3.78 | 34 ratings
Lost In Reverie
2004

PECCATUM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PECCATUM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PECCATUM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PECCATUM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.31 | 4 ratings
Oh, My Regrets
2000
3.92 | 11 ratings
The Moribund People
2005

PECCATUM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lost In Reverie by PECCATUM album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.78 | 34 ratings

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Lost In Reverie
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Gallifrey

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.

7.3

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 Lost In Reverie by PECCATUM album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.78 | 34 ratings

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Lost In Reverie
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Strangling From Within by PECCATUM album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.65 | 16 ratings

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Strangling From Within
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Strangling From Within is the debut album from Norwegian experimental metal band Peccatum. Peccatum was to start with a project band for Ihsahn, frontman and guitarist in infamous Norwegian black metal band Emperor but after Emperor disbanded Peccatum became Ihsahnīs main focus for a couple of years. Peccatum is very different from Emperor but it might appeal to the ones who favoured the last Emperor album Prometheus - The Discipline of Fire & Demise or Ihsahnīs solo albums.

The music is black metal inspired without actually being black metal. The black metal feeling is mostly due to Ihsahnīs growling. The pace is generally much slower than on any of Emperorīs output except for The Change which has blast beat sections. There are both classically inspired female singing and more avant garde high pitched screams from Ihsahnīs wife Ihriel, clean vocals from Lord Pz and both black metal rasps and clean singing from Ihsahn. Lots of orchestral keyboard themes swirl around in the compositions making the music symphonic, multilayered and at times complex. Thereīs some kind of twisted beauty in the music but not the kind of simple melodic beauty that bands like Within Tempation or Nightwish create.

The musicianship is great and once again Ihsahn proves why he is considered one of the most important musicians on the Norwegian metal scene. The vocals from the three members of the band are the main focus on Strangling From Within and all three are great singers. They all have a personal approach to singing.

The production is very good. Clean and sharp. No one is credited here for playing the drums and they might be computer created for all I know. They sound great though.

Strangling From Within is a good experimental metal album. It doesnīt quite fit my taste but I can appreciate the will to experiment and innovate which has always been a dominant part of Ihsahnīs music. 3 stars is well deserved and I can fully understand if others give this one 4 stars. The compositions are of very high quality so itīs a matter of aquired taste for me with this one.

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 Lost In Reverie by PECCATUM album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.78 | 34 ratings

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Lost In Reverie
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Shakespeare

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.

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 The Moribund People by PECCATUM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
3.92 | 11 ratings

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The Moribund People
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sularetal

3 stars Peccatum is a band that seems to be influenced by many different styles of metal such as black, gothic and doom. It reminds me of bands like dead can dance and theater of tragedy. This EP consist of three tracks, full of darkness and deep emotions. It mostly varies from atmospheric parts, which are slow, have female vocals and dark melodies played on keyboards, to heavy parts which are much faster and have male screams.

I'm not going to go into each song cause Vaxis has done this really well in his review. Anyway this is an ep with three songs and it only gives you an idea of Peccatum's music. However, it's a pleasant listen.

Not much progressive elements inside all that, however this is a highly recommended cd to all anathema fans and people who enjoy gothic music generally (not saying that anathema is gothic. far from it...) . To a prog-metal fan I would say it's not what he would expect from the categorization. To me, this ep is really promising but not essential. Three stars!

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 The Moribund People by PECCATUM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
3.92 | 11 ratings

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The Moribund People
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by darksinger

5 stars A perfect swan song for ex-Emperor Ihsahn and star of ash's Ihriel's project. Booting Lord PZ was definately an improvement for the act, as Ihriel's haunting singting are woven perfectly with Ihsahn's demonic spitty screams or his melodramatic opera-ish tenor. The music is a mixture of dark ambient with moments of metal riffs. The title track is energetic, despite "moribund" meaning "dying", and "A Penny's Worth of Heart" is disturbing and moody. "For Those who Died" is a Bathory cover that is carried out competently and beautifully. There is a video for the title track, too, that is worth watching, although I don't quite get the guy in the chair screaming in pain. The best Peccatum and sadly, the last.

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 Amor Fati by PECCATUM album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.32 | 12 ratings

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Amor Fati
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Compared with their debut PECCATUM's second longplayer "Amor Fati" (named after an expression by Friedrich Nietzsche and meaning "love your fate") is a tap more accessible and could be considered as a good starting point for the ones who are new to this band. In fact incidentally it was as well the first one by them I owned and it fascinated me quite a lot in the beginning I've to say because the music on here was that much different from anything else I've heard so far. But retrospectively I've to admit it's in a way inferior to "Strangling From Within" coming close to some gothic metal at times (which isn't bad necessarily). Basically the tracks on here are varying from quite heavy black metal riffing combined with violin play, multi-layered symphonic keys and at times very theatrical operatic vocals (male and female). But unlike with most symphonic-type gothic metal bands with "beauty-and-the-beast"-type of vocals (i.e. Nightwish) songs here are mostly composed rather intricately and thus might sound a bit angular and bumpy at first listen. Probably this isn't a record at all most dark metal fans will fall in love with right from the first listening. But taking its title literally if you think such kind of adventurous music is your fate you should probably love it. Not essential but recommended to all those fellows for whom EMPEROR's music is too simplistic and rough (like me) and worth of 3 stars I would say!

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 Strangling From Within by PECCATUM album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.65 | 16 ratings

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Strangling From Within
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Norvegian black metal band EMPEROR (defunct since 2001) obviously has been a prolific source for highly talented musicians with an artistic pretension going far beyond their original genre's limits. Guitarist Tomas Thormodsæter Haugen (aka Samoth) joined ARCTURUS in 1993, bassist Terje Vik Shei (aka Tchort) played guitars together with GREEN CARNATION and Bård G. Eithun (aka Faust) contributed drums on ULVER's "Perdition City" album. Now then PECCATUM is a project of EMPEROR's second guitarist Vegard Sverre Tveitan (aka Ihsahn) joining forces with his wife and his brother-in-law. Their gritty and ambitious debut "Strangling From Within" is a quite extreme avant-gardistic type of work which will certainly not appeal to the common black metal fan. Being in its music style not too far away from ARCTURUS' stuff (just imagine addition of female vocs) it's in parts a difficult to access tightrope walk between theatrical drama, classical, industrial and black metal. Especially the female vocals which contribute mainly to the strongly classical touch of this album are reaching at times pitches that might hard to be supported by some more sensitive ears. The album is divided up in two chapters where tracks 1-5 make up the first and tracks 6-9 the second one. The multilayered compositions display throughout a quite maniac and depressive atmosphere, a kind of desolation and emptiness that will most probably not appeal to fans of standard melodic prog metal but I'd highly recommend this album to any open-minded music lover with an affinity to rather insane black/death metal. Especially the ones who are into Scandinavian avant metal scene will like it. Maybe not to be called an essential one necessarily since it's rather an acquired taste but anyway an excellent debut deserving some more attention actually.

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 Strangling From Within by PECCATUM album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.65 | 16 ratings

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Strangling From Within
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by tiberiusz

4 stars Strangling From Whithin is a bizarre and captivating blend of baroque classical with experimantal blackmetal somewhat similar to Ihsahn's later work with Emperor. I will state early in this review that it is very different to the more popular In A Reverie, having a more rough and raw blackmetal tone to the guitarwork, and it focuses much more strongly on classical aspects rather than the blues and ambience that made In A Reverie distinctive.

It is not a particularly accesible album, common complaints being that it is too operatic and bizarre to please many fans of Ihsahn's work with Emperor and too sinister for fans of more mellow prog metal. That said, it is a shockingly unique, sophisticated composition showcasing the abilities of one of the finest minds in avantgarde metal and i suspect that the reason many find the album so inaccesible is because there is nothing else quite like it. Seven years after its release, it is still ahead of its time.

The musicianship and composition is first class, though some may bring the tone into question as matter of personal taste. The strings have a chilling baroque tone and Ihriel's operatic vocals and occasional screams in particular add a shrill sharpness to the music that may take a few listens to begin to appreciate.

What to rate this album really depends on who i am recommening it to. It is an aquired taste perfect for fans of avantgarde metal, or fans of extreme progressive metal looking for something new with a strong classical element. It has the artistic "something extra" such listeners seek, and would highly recommend it as a masterpiece to that select audience. However, it is just a bit too much an aquired taste for me to tag a 5-star rating on to it, so i'll give it a 4 and let the reader scale that up or down in their minds depending on how well such a style of music appeals to their personal tastes.

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 Oh, My Regrets by PECCATUM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2000
2.31 | 4 ratings

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Oh, My Regrets
Peccatum Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Vaxis

2 stars A very arguable EP. A better version of Rise, Ye Humans can be found on Amor Fati and the title track is a bit too experimental and avantgarde for a common listener as it has really crazy rhythm and some unpleasant vocals... So obviously the only song that can be of interest here is Blood Red Skies, a JUDAS PRIEST cover. Although most Priest fans hate it, in my opinion it is brilliant (Halford's falsetto parts are sung in female soprano and kick drums are replaced with disco-style beats).

Overall, I can only recommend this EP to Judas Priest and Peccatum fans. Others probably won't find anything interesting here.

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