Review: Ihsahn - Eremita
And that's all before any riffs begin. And when they charge into action in full force, such as to be found in the screaming black metal velocity of The Paranoid and Something Out There which along with displaying powerful guitar work with stone-carved heaviness, effectively display's the ability to add sophisticated symphonic backdrops without any risk of the song moving into tackier territory. Of course the intense shredding of The Eagle and the Snake provided by ex-Nevermore axeman and all around metal guitar legend Jeff Loomis is an undeniable display of riffage at it's most immersive pounce.
While Ihsahn's black metal past lives on in a more melodic and more-mannered form, there is also moment where different ideas are traced upon and the progressive influences come out at full force. Wether it's in the sludgy Introspection which features the soothing and captivating guest vocals from the always-wonderful Devin Townsend or the crushing bleakness of The Grave heavy of doom-laden riffs with a blackened edge, Ihsahn's ability to craft well-structured and less-in-your face songs that still keep listeners on the edge of their seat is a real power. And of course the prominent contribution from Shining frontman Jorgen Munkeby across the album gives an extra depth to the grim backdrops of the likes of Catharsis. Indeed, playing the saxophone has never sounded so metal!
Always known for being a musician that doesn't like to settle on the same solid sound for a long period of time, Ihsahn continues to prove with Eremita that his songwriting has progressed to the stage that we will never hear a song like I Am the Black Wizards from him anymore. While many will pine for the release of a new Emperor album, it's more than obvious that Ihsahn is in a good place musically right now, where his bringing all his different musical influences and past styles to light in a combination that is breathtaking. Already an influential name in metal, Ihsahn's ability to break new grounds and maintain a higher respectability is commendable.
Ihsahn's Eremita is out now via Candlelight.