Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 4/18/2006
posted on 4/2006 By:
As one of Norway’s most notable talents, Ihsahn’s hell-fueled contributions to metal, or otherwise, are evidence of nothing less than his incontestable genius. From raw epic black metal of early Emperor to the band’s more progressive leanings later on, the classically-tinged ambient arrangements of Thou Shalt Suffer, or the captivating avantgarde compositions of the recently disbanded Peccatum, to name a few, Ihsahn has instinctively made use of every dark angle conceivable. A man of many stylistic visions, Ihsahn’s latest incendiary offering, The Adversary, is an anthology of all his past incantations, together as one.
Accompanied only by Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect, Borknagar, Scariot) behind the drum kit, The Adversary showcases Ihsahn’s astonishing technical proficiency on the guitar, bass, and keyboards, as well as his ability to seamlessly balance different shades of light and dark without sacrificing the album’s overall cohesion. Imagine a fusion between Vintersorg’s Visions From The Spiral Generator and Death’s The Sound Of Perseverance and you may get a pretty decent idea of the sort of riff-shifting tempo-changing affair The Adversary really is. Vocally Ihsahn blends everything from his tortured trademark shriek to an almost King Diamond-esque high-pitch howl, not to mention some very impressive clean vocal melodies.
For those looking for more of a stock Emperor feel, the blast beaten bridge of intro “Invocation” as well as most of “Panem Et Circences” should hold you over, while “And He Shall Walk In Empty Places”, “Citizen”, and “Will You Love Me Now?” each have their fair shake of death metal stimulus. A few songs that focus on atmosphere above (or at least amid) aggression, but no less technically stunning, include "Homecoming” (featuring a guest vocal appearance by Garm of Ulver), “Astera Ton Proinon”, and the ten-plus minute closer “The Pain Is Still Mine”, all of which employ heavy use of keys, strings, and synthesizers. Arguably the most diverse and dynamic (if not the catchiest) track on The Adversary, “Called By The Fire” is host to some of the more melodic and accessible moments on the record. If there ever was an extreme metal single, this would be it. Overflowing with fluid leads, varied vocal styles, and one hell of an unforgettable sing-along chorus, “Called By The Fire” earns my vote for metal song of the year.
In closing, while it is doubtful and unfortunate that we will ever see a new Emperor or Peccatum album, Ihsahn was essentially the mastermind behind those phenomenal acts and his unique prolific career lives and continues with The Adversary.
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