Review Summary: In Summary, while this album can be slow at times, it really pushes the boundaries of black metal, "After" is a beautiful album with not many flaws. Some may argue that this shit sucks because it doesn't sound like Emperor, go listen to Anthems to the Wel
Vegard Sverre Tveitan, or known to some of you as Isahn, the brains behind one of the most influential black metal bands of our time (Emperor) continues on with his solo career with his newest offering "After" Personally, I got into Ihsahn quite late, hearing "Unhealer" from his "Angl" album featuring Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth. So I went to my nearest record store, and coughed up $17.99. I was not really floored upon the first few 100 listens, as I am not a very big fan of black metal, not that Angl was standard black metal, but hey you can certainly tell he was the main influence in Emperor.
So...a couple years later, I hear the man is releasing a new album, and is incorporating the Saxophone, and an 8 string guitar into his music. Well I was sold from the get-go.
On to the album itself....
1. The Barren Lands- This tune has quite the groove to it, you can tell already that much production has went into this album, as vocals, all instruments are all top notch, It seems as if Ihsahn has taken some vocal lessons or something (having Jens Bogren helps) There is quite a bit of guitar wankery on this track and it is beautiful. 5/5
2. A Grave Inversed- Black Metal, with saxophones, I believe this is the first track which the saxophone is introduced, to me its kind of silly, but i feel the chaos as well, its kind of like, the first couple minutes the saxophone seems out of place a bit, and "After" things slow down a bit, it fits a bit more. Solos abound once again, some more great guitar work from Ihsahn. But 3.5/5
3. After- Well folks, things are starting to slow down a bit now, time to light a joint if you have one, very mellow with Ihsahn deciding to sing, and man, this dude can sing, I really enjoy how I feel like I am being taken on a journey as each song progresses. 5/5
4. Frozen Lakes on Mars- Here we go, the song starts out a pretty much standard Ihsahn black metal tune, once again awesome guitar work, and then it slows down into the chorus, this guy is really starting to get comfortable, And man this song grooves,i hate using that word if its one thing I notice quite a bit, this album has a great feeling to it. 5/5
5. Undercurrent- Masterpiece. This song is amazing. This is one of the first songs I notice the basswork of Lars K. Norberg, and it doesn't let down. Clocking in at 10 minutes, this song really has an epic feel to it, and the song doesn't let up until it's over. The saxophone comes in once again, and I think Jørgen Munkeby has found his groove within the rest of the band. 5/5
6. Austere- My personal favorite off of this album, it really is a beautiful piece of work. 5/5
7. Heaven's Black Sea- As much as I like the slower tunes, I was starting to get bored, and this album was starting to lose my attention, until this little track started playing, much faster paced the first half, the song breaks into a sax solo, which is a nice little change, kind of reminds me of Pink Floyd a bit, and then the song jumps right back into the mix, and ends on a good note 5/5
8. On the Shores- This song is pretty much a combination of every song on the album combined. Clocking in at 10 minutes Ihsahn gives this song room to breathe, and he does it well, flowing seamlessly through black metal styles, to a more progressive sound, with intertwining saxophones and guitar leads, 5/5