Year : 2012
Genre : Black Metal Interruptions
Label : Candlelight
Origin : Norway
Rating : 8.2 / 10
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When a 2012 metal release features post-breakdown Nietzsche - he is your papi - on the covert art, you know you have music to listen to, and this one is the solo project of Ihsahn, who primarily is renowned as the ex-fronter of prestigious Norwegian black metal ensemble Emperor. I became remotely familiar with the style of Ihsahn through the latest to date Jeff Loomis solo album, - "Plains Of Oblivion, AKA. "POO", but the album kicks the ass as opposed of buckling out of it, pardon my French" - on which he - Ihsahn - lends vocal talents on one of the songs. Jeff Loomis delivers a solo on THIS album from rebound position, so things are even.
The package is pretty clear, consistent and efficient at what it wants to do. The main agenda is to entertainingly deceit, as oftentimes the disk administers the maelstrom-type of chaotic black metal, which gets playfully interrupted by either a much tamer-, almost hard rockish hook from time to time, or, even by a shamelessly gentle and easily accessible mini-session. The first song is an example to this method right away, but rest assured that the compositional behavior realized in the opening track is one that is propagated throughout the release with solid appeal. Read on to find out more about this.
As noted, Ihsahn's Eremita LP is a legitimate testament to the soulcrusher nieche of black metal Nietzsche is the aficionado of, - see? he did not object - but the propensity herein to interrupt the legit flow of the tar of black metal is very straightforwardly presented, and it is not being kept as a secret at all. Quite the contrary : the disc is a study of black metal interruptions, as the body of the tar I just been mentioning, gets flattered by its sheer interruption, so its immensity reigns rampant, once its integrity is granted once again. The moods and musical forms Ihsahn offers the sonic interruptions in the body of the tar, are numerous : easy-, on-spot accessibility always IS an agenda of these segments, but don't be afraid, the music remains legitimate while being accessible, never for ONCE submitting to the Nickelfuck direction.
The hook of track number 3 reminds me of a family friendly variant of Lord Mantis' Pervertor, for example. Notice the immense similarities between the pre-section of THIS song, and the favored method of Lord Mantis (or sludge-peer Indian) to deliver the lyrics on top of intense, deranged/scattered drum pummeling, like Ihsahn does herein. If radio friendly music with dignity and grit sounds contradictory to you, then let me name a song that is full of charisma and charm, and looks good on radio : "Midlife Crysis".
It is important to note that comfortable accessibility is not the premiere concern of the spin. "The Eagle and the Shadow" is the first occasion the package reveals its tame avant-garde fixation, which though reigns to the core whenever it is present - think of Steve Vai's music, the avant-garde rhetorics herein is quite similar to that, and the saxophones are only exaggerating this effect.
Starting from this track, (4), on towards the end, I personally think that the dry scarecrow vocal style of Ihsahne kind of becomes "uhuh", but, luckily, he does not feel the need to posture himself - no pun intended - on the end of every second bar.
The fifth song, "Catharsis", with some top tier background saxophone-ambient presence, summons the superb soundtrack of the movie "48 Hours" by James Horner, and the chorus strikes an interesting balance between Type O Negative and Pink Floyd. The Type O Negative similarity is maintained in the consecutive track, "Something out there", too, and the music offers a totally exigent middle ground between easily accessible melodies AMIDST insanely crazy - oops. I just lost a level - black metal. Notice how the neoclassical affectations are finding new and fine ways to present themselves along different, fresh registers now that they are supported by blast beats.
"Grief" is Nosferatu background music, orchestrated to the silent cinema of the early 1920s. You make the gimp scared.
"The Grave" is an avant-garde sludge with saxophones, and, while it is an acceptable sonic backdrop to lay a grim fandango with a crazy banshee around your aura, it does not crush the soul to stardust like this song, called "Loss of Will" from sludge ancient Esoteric. This Ihsahn track, "The Grave" seeks to be more staggeringly efficient/bombastic than it actually has the juice to be, but far from a failure. It's just not as hearltess as the linked Esoteric song, and sludge should be heartless, at minimum.
Notice the following : from 2:50, a segment starts with a simple lead guitar riff that is very reminiscent to one of the songs featured on the Diablo 1 soundtrack.
"Departure" is a pretty legit insanity-anthem, maelstrom-sound-storm-vortex-insanity-mind-fuckery, then the flow is abruptly interrupted by a gentle session that flatters tame and risk free easy listening traditions, but nothing so magical as the verbatim interruption in "Squeeze me Macaroni" by Mr. Bungle, but not too bad. Later on, the song leaves the super-chaotic (tautology?) character behind, and submits to road-motor sport groove metal warfare for a while, then a singer lady goes kind of U2 on you - brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr - to deliver an intermission which reigns as the precursor of a a tight outtro that reminds me of Faith No More. (But with non-relevant singing.)
In the end, insanity comes back, which is just normal.
A mature and imaginative release that has a firm understanding-, as well as a skillset to submit and realize its own ambitions, which is to claim and exercise the liberty to color up the black of black metal with sober and thrilling colors that seek and dare to deviate.
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