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Ihsahn – The Adversary

Label: Candlelight Records
Format: CD
Released: 2006
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

The heaviness is present, the extreme vocals are present yet this is not exactly your traditional Emperor album, which is to be expected. If there is one thing I don’t like it’s when a member from a band goes on to make a solo album and it ends up sounding just like the band they are from.


All the music and lyrics presented on “The Adversary” are written and performed by Ihsahn himself with the exception of the drums done by Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar, Spiral Architect). After getting through the first two tracks there is one artist I am thinking about very much and that is King Diamond. First of all the arrangements are very influenced by Mercyful Fate. On top of that there are clean vocals mixed with extreme blackened vocals which have their own unique touch to them. Then there is a high pitch falsetto at times, which just screams the King all the way.

‘Citizen’ has more of a traditional faster Norwegian black metal approach but that style does not stay in vein throughout the entire track as an eerie nursery rhythm is incorporated as well as a doom-like chant getting involved half way through. This track at some points allows me to envision standing in the middle of a large forest and looking up to see the tree branches swaying back and forth under a darkened sky. ‘Homecoming’ has a mood at times reminding me of Alice in Chains, lots of progression takes place through out this one. ‘And He Shall Walk In Empty Places’ and ‘Will You Love Me Now?’ are true symphonic black metal all the way in which fans of Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus, and Emperor will be all over these.

Album closer ‘The Pain is Still Mine’ is an epic 10+ minute emotional track showcasing everything that influences Ihsahn including classical, progressive rock, and heavy/black metal. The vocals are painfully sung to the point where you can truly feel the hurt he is expressing, a very moving number. The King Diamond influenced vocals make their return in this track. Around the 6:20 mark I hear a brief Savatage-like arrangement (think "Handful of Rain") with the use of piano and guitar which I think is very cool.

I feel Ihsahn has released a great album that will stand the test of time and will without a doubt get a lot more listens out of me. I hope down the line Ihsahn releases more great material to follow the amazing "Adversary".

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