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Album Reviews : Ihsahn – Àmr

By on May 9, 2018

Few artists in the broad spectrum of black metal can boast a career which has seen as many highlights as that of Ihsahn. Twelve years after his debut solo offering “The Adversary” which was largely outside what is expected, especially after the blistering and cyclonic riffing which was created in Emperor. Each record has offered something slightly new to the table from an artist who has never been afraid to challenge his listeners to expand their musical horizons. It’s no secret his solo material draws a distinct influence from the prog rock bands of the 1970’s (Rush, Yes, King Crimson) to name a few as well as that from avant-garde jazz, experimental electronica and dark ambient music.

“Lend me the Eyes of the Millenia” begins with an almost 80’s like synth keyboards with the instantly recognizable harsh vocals and the hard-hitting drums come in not long after. The ambience created drives the opening track further forward and seems like would be a hell of an opener in the live environment. The next track “Arcana Imperii” was the first track released prior to the release of “Amr” and it features an incredibly smooth guitar solo courtesy of Opeth’s Frederik Akesson. Featuring a considerable amount of clean vocals, but also incredibly well-thought songwriting which Ihsahn is known for. “Samr” the third track on the album encompasses a fair degree of melody and synth in which he seems to fit in so perfectly with those trademark clean vocals. “One Less Enemy” is the probably the track on the album where more of the black metal fans might take more of an interest as there is definitely an element of riffing which might be found in some of the other Norwegian black metal acts (A standout track on the album for me)

With Àmr, Ihsahn takes yet another step further away from the majesty and moonlight of Emperor, and yet, somehow, the art within the album shares a soul with the forces which shaped his earlier works. Always evolving, progressing and creating new music which won’t be for everyone, Ihsahn’s 7th solo record steps further away from what may be expected in the realms of black metal and I doubt he could care less…

The excellence he’s achieved once again is for there to see and another impressive slab from one of black metal’s visionaries.

Band: Ihsahn
Album: Àmr
Year: 2018
Genre: Extreme/Progressive Metal
Label: Candlelight Records
Origin: Norway