Ihsahn - _After_
(Candlelight Records, 2010)
by: Jackie Smit (
"Abstract" -- an ironic word, which the Emperor frontman himself has used to describe his third solo outing in recent interviews. And indeed, if ever there was an antithesis to his previous full-length, 2008's sublime _angL_, then this would be it. Where that record was the epitome of focus, and near-flawless execution of a plethora of disparate ideas, this latest platter cries out for its creator's boundless creativity to be reined in, or at the very least sense-checked by a capable partner-in-crime.Here, sans the perfectly compatible intensity of his former cohort Samoth, Ihsahn very quickly becomes recklessly self-indulgent, gorging himself on particularly his oft-betrayed obsession with progressive rock. Not content to exhibit this through the album's many lengthy and often bloated guitar flutters, a saxophone is introduced on what feels like over half the cuts. Its inclusion neither embellishes nor enriches, instead coming off as a repeatedly failed and, more gratingly, pompous experiment.Still, Ihsahn's legacy as one of black metal's keystone songwriters wasn't borne of a lack of talent, and _After_ isn't without its share of solid moments. "The Barren Lands" and "Frozen Lakes on Mars" in particular shows the Norseman at his best, as he seamlessly weaves together a myriad of moods and textures into a perfectly combustible package. His flair for musical exploration is a very far cry from the swampy doldrums of Devin Townsend's _Addicted_, but for someone of his godlike talent, the inconsistency that plagues _After_ is cause for disappointment.
All contents copyright 1995-2016 their individual creators. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
All opinions expressed in Chronicles of Chaos are opinions held at the time of writing by the individuals expressing them.
They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else, past or present.