Ihsahn
Amr


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (252 Reviews)
May 7th, 2018 | 84 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A visionary of music continues to turn heads.

Ihsahn is a staple of extreme music and a well known story as far as metal is concerned. Once known for his efforts fronting black metal pioneers Emperor, this multi-instrumentalist has carved another legacy going solo. Since leaving the world of Emperor, Ihsahn has naturally progressed past the sounds he helped carve into the world of metal all them years ago. His newest offering, Ámr expands on its predecessors (namely Arktis. and Das Seelenbrechen) and continues on the path both in theme and in terms of quality. A feat both rare and welcome in today’s standards.

Despite being embedded in the stylistic choices of his past, Ihsahn has shown a constant need to move. At face value it could be argued that Ámr is a Arktis. Version 2. A quick foray into the loathsome, dark journey hints at a synth heavy progression that melds heavy and light into a forty-four minute landslide of quality material.

Ámr continues the same thematic journey laid out in the scenes of Arktis. but doesn’t expand largely on the ideas found within. Instead, a semi-vintage synth graces the backbone of Ihsahn’s music adding flesh to the framework that has been in place since the solo debut. The raspy shrieks that dominated much of Emperor only adds to the contrast of the Norwegian cleans. It’s easy to see that there’s a musical genius at work here, backed by years of experience. Largely, the solo work of Ihsahn can rival (and in places surpass) that of the already overly mentioned Emperor. Progression is natural, whether it’s wanted or not and it’s clear that Ihsahn’s music was bound to evolve, expand and take a different shape.

Ámr is a swirling pool of smoke. As it rises, the natural transference of shape gives way to light and then combines, before fading forever. But as each wisp ascends a new form replaces it, showing the flame is very much alive. The music itself is very much the epitome of this analogy. “Lend Me the Eyes of the Millenia” opens the new album with calculated fury as the hook sinks quickly into the mind of the listener. Hypnotic and atmospheric it lends greatly to the older musical habits of the past where savage blast beats meat almost orchestral compositions. Whether or not you can appreciate the newer direction (especially considering that this is the seventh album under the solo moniker) there’s no denying the musical virtuosity found in each of the album’s tracks. Ámr overall placates the fans of Ihsahn’s light and dark equilibrium and enchants those still [somehow] new to this pioneer of music.

A veritable onslaught of highlights leave the listener with little time for recollection. That’s not to say Ámr becomes overbearing or oppressive, rather it’s the smooth, yet almost jarring blending of Ihsahn’s musical sides that take away the chance to think past the obvious. The sinister overtones that permeates during “One Less Enemy” sit pleasantly next to the gentle floating melodies while the guest solo from Opeth’s Fredrik Åkesson is far from out of place on “Arcana Imperii”. Even the black metal “purists” should find some peace as Ihsahn belts through the typical aesthetic. “Wake” is an especially fervent example. Ambitious in the making, “Wake” shines through the metal furore, being equally beautiful as it’s heavy, as graceful as it is bleak.

As Ámr continues, the record gives way to the cleaner experimentations Ihsahn has become known for. The angelic touches that contrast so well with the Emperor-esque evil that peppers the album. It’s an element that has been executed near perfectly. For those wondering where Ihsahn’s newest offering sits in comparison with the previous album, Ámr it doesn’t really expand on the cornerstones of 2016’s Arktis., choosing instead to follow it. It's a natural progression, without the decline in quality other acts fall into the trap of. It’s just a wonder where this visionary of music will take his next offering. The heights already belong to the man named Ihsahn.



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user ratings (132)
Chart.
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2018


8894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It’s good to be listening to great music again.

thedoom
May 7th 2018


20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I kinda wish this was longer, these 44 minutes are flying.

HarryBoBerry
May 7th 2018


600 Comments


Very well-written review. Bracing for that feature.

Ihsahn can do no wrong. Not quite sure where to rank this among his other albums, they're all so solid.

TheNotrap
May 7th 2018


9248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Enjoyable reading.



The album has an interesting dark silk layer on top of every song.

Pretty classy and sophisticated.

Digging: Gorod - Aethra

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2018


8894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another favourite for 2018.

osmark86
May 7th 2018


7373 Comments


really have to listen to this. Ihsahn is such a great musician.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2018


8894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Doesn’t exactly seem to be slowing down either

bloc
May 7th 2018


52441 Comments


Never got super into this guy, but I will check this

Digging: Edan - Beauty and the Beat

BlackwaterPork
May 7th 2018


4257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet album and review

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

osmark86
May 7th 2018


7373 Comments


revisited some old Emperor instead, but after that will defo check this out ^^

MoosechriS
May 7th 2018


6349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is really good, need to check his other solo stuff still as the only other one i have is after which i also reallly liked.

vermillionZ
May 7th 2018


143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, certainly not far behind Arktis. I like it even better honestly.

Digging: Behemoth - I Loved You at Your Darkest

Fowo
May 7th 2018


116 Comments


I'm not much into Ihsahn at all, but this album is listenable. Not something I'd put on in my freetime, won't have "Damn, I want to play Ihsahn now", but I could put it in background and I wouldn't mind, which is a quite different from my other experiences with his music earlier (except Celestial Violence ofc)

Asdfp277
May 7th 2018


18956 Comments


this came out already? sweet

TheNotrap
May 7th 2018


9248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

One Less Enemy rocks

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2018


8894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah it’s out already, almost a week I think.

Fanto
May 7th 2018


2 Comments


For me this album is a completely let down, very boring imho.

bloc
May 7th 2018


52441 Comments


Yeah this is aight, probably going to forget about it tomorrow

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2018


8894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Most wont

Muse1748
May 7th 2018


187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I’m glad we’ve taken the time to discuss our lord and savior, Ihsahn.



Exceptionally well written, sir. I love this album.



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