Peccatum - _Strangling From Within_
(Candlelight, 1998)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
This Peccatum album risked disappointing those who wanted it to be as much of a more classically influenced version of Emperor as possible, as well as those who wanted it to have as little in common with Emperor as possible and just show a different side of Ihsahn's musical skills and creativity. Having been released just before Emperor's follow-up to their masterpiece _Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk_ comes out adds to this situation. As it turns out, you'll basically get a bit of each with _Strangling From Within_. Together with his wife Ihriel (who turns out to be a quite reasonably talented vocalist, except for her irritating screams on "The Song Which No Name Carry") and her brother (whose clean vocals are just about acceptable, except when he opts for a high-pitched approach), Ihsahn has produced an album which is at times rather brilliant and generally manages to stand on its own, regardless of how close it is or isn't to Emperor. This is mostly original and almost always progressive and creative music. A lot of experimentation and different ideas seem to have been thrown into this album -- sometimes a bit excessively, actually --, and therefore the songs are hardly ever predictable. While not every surprise is a pleasant one and the music occasionally stumbles upon some poor choices, the rather annoying "The Song Which No Name Carry", which isn't any better than its own title, constitutes the only major exception to this album's overall quality.

(article published 14/3/1999)

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