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Peccatum - Strangling From Within CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.52 | 22 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars PECCATUM was one of the side projects of Ihsahn formed in 1998 two years before he finally broke up Emperor and was one of those husband and wife team things that he did with his significant other Ihriel which she initiated as her first musical project and of course how could Ihsahn refuse getting involved. The band was basically Ihsahn and Ihriel although her sister Lord Pz added vocals on the first two albums. PECCATUM lasted for eight years and released three albums before Ihsahn embarked on a solo career and Ihriel went more in the folk metal direction with Hardingrock and solo as Starofish.

Although this debut STRANGLING FROM WITHIN prognosticates much of what would constitute the average solo album from Ihsahn in the following decade and beyond, there are a few key elements that differentiate the PECCATUM project. While the gnarled progressive black metal riffs and gothic underbelly evoke the following Ihsahn albums, STRANGLING FROM WITHIN is more like a symphonic classical compositional album that is dressed in black metal clothing. The opening "Where Do I Belong" insinuates a less metal experience than anything Emperor churned out and the album is brought more into the realms of opera by Ihriel's high pitched vocal style however it's her one trick pony screeches that bring this album down a few notches.

"The Change" and its rampaging progressive black metal attack charges at a furious tempo with blastbeats and sounds like something that should've been on an Emperor album but the following "The Song Which No Name Carry" displays a very avant-garde swagger that would become one of Ihsahn's signature styles once gone solo. "The Sand Was Made Of Mountains" brings back the symphonic elements with feisty keyboard heft and jittery guitar parts along with a more jazzy drumming style. This tailor made progressive song brings out some of his most knotty workouts before the album slows down a bit and culminating with the more classically infused lengthy "The World Of No Worlds" and "And Pray For Me."

Overall there's some great moments on this album but Ihsahn's bestial black metal vocal style along with Ihriel's airy fairy high wails just don't jive together very well making this beauty and beast approach sound like two beasts duking it out in the gender wars. Compositionally speaking the album flows fairly well but the mix of the black metal and classical elements does feel a bit clumsy at times. Once again, i cannot stress how irritating Ihriel's vocals are on this album but luckily they don't dominate and can be forgotten, well, at least until they leap back into the scheme of things. For being a first offering, this album isn't horrible by any means but it certainly isn't Ihsahn's swan song either especially considering this was released while he was still in Emperor.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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