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Ihsahn
After

Company: Candlelight records
Release: 2010
Genre: Blackened
Reviewer: Raising Iron

  • Absolutely engaging in its authenticity



  • Tough to know where to begin a review when delving into a record such as Ihsahn's third and latest offering, After, a tour-de-force of a tortured soul bearing its true blackened beguilings. Like certain other offerings by such bands as Volbeat, Mnemic, or Diablo Swing Orchestra, it's impossible to pigeonhole the style, and although avant-garde is the catch-all term/genre for such peripheral metal dwellers, Ihsahn's solo project is a bit more accessible than those listed above.

    First off, although its relatively noticeable the man wishes to distance himself from his former black metal beast Emperor, whatever the style you wish to label this as being, its definitely blackened. "A Grave Inversed" throbs with all the hi-fi anxiety of the Norwegian metal movement, but it's only a small portion of a broader landscape, criss-crossed often via *gasp* saxophone, and otherworldly, introspective, keyboard flourishes. It's exactly what the man is going for; bearing to light the myriad emotions of a human being's deepest, darkest, inner personage, resulting in whatever the result may be. Hence, much like modern Enslaved or Opeth, the music traverses huge swells and decays, all the while remaining remarkably cohesive (even more so than on his previous two efforts), highly organic, and absolutely engaging in its authenticity.

    One listen to the epic and sprawling "Undercurrent" will divulge everything you need to know about this release, and there are seven more songs of similar interest. The standout track would have to be "Austere"; again Opeth comparatives can certainly be made here, but the haunt is decidedly unique unto itself, the Pink Floydian touches toward midpoint exacerbating any attempt to compartmentalize or predict what comes next.

    For progressive and extreme metal fans, this is a no-brainer, for those who don't necessarily like black metal or Ihsahn's ties to the scene, don't let that stop you; this is highly original, and sure to be one of the most honestly written albums to be released in the metal world in this coming year.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: IHSAHN
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    AfterIhsahn
    2010
    Raising Iron3/4/2010
    AnglIhsahn
    2008
    David Loveless5/5/2009
    The AdversaryIhsahn
    2006
    Troy Cole11/9/2007


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: IHSAHN

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: IHSAHN
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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