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Peccatum - Lost in Reverie CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.90 | 34 ratings

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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:

Gallifrey | 4/5 |


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