Release DetailsLABEL The End
RELEASED ON 5/25/2004
Lost In Reverie
posted on 3/2004 By:
Ihsahn is back! Back, weirder than ever, easily aeons ahead of past Peccatum releases, and, to these ears, at least as good as anything Emperor released. Peccatum is now made up of Ihsahn and his wife Ihriel, no longer featuring PZ except on vocals on the two tracks that feature the heaviest sections on the album. A cool but slightly misleading piece of information about the new direction, so to speak, of the band is the fact that four of the seven songs feature the drummer Knut Aalefjær, renowned for his work in an experimental jazz trio. Lost in Reverie hardly even comes close to jazz, but is chalk full of experimentation, and it’s an experiment with highly successful results. What at first seems somewhat mismatched and jarring begins to make sense rather quickly. The odd jumble of industrial, darkwave, black metal and even trip hop proves to be expertly crafted; nothing is by accident.
It seems the best way to write about this record with any coherence whatsoever is to break it down track by track. The album begins with the longest song, “Desolate Ever After”. It takes its time getting started with eerie ambient string sounds before transitioning to a dark and relatively noisy industrial segment and then essentially repeats what it’s already done in a truncated form. While it’s my least favorite song on the album, it still sets the tone amply well for the rest of this bizarre album. “In the Bodiless Heart” comes next, catching the listener completely off guard. With classical guitar and an almost Spanish feel to it, this isn’t something one might expect from one of the biggest names in black metal, but then, isn’t metal really all about catching the listener off guard? All of the instrumentation is at its finest on this track, with fine and intricate guitar work, a bass part that brings to mind Steve DiGiorgio’s style, and drumming with plentiful attention to dynamics. Not until the third track do we get a taste of the fact that Ihsahn still has it in him to write some devastating and beautiful metal. “Parasite my Heart” begins with a far too brief but wonderfully Emperor-like metal part, before making its way to a sometimes very mellow and always extremely moody meandering end. This song, while certainly not outwardly comparable, is somewhat compositionally similar to something Kayo Dot might do. Easily the best and least expected song on Lost in Reverie is “Veils of Blue”. Fans of latter day Ulver and especially Memoirs era The Third and the Mortal will eat this one right up. It features an extremely groovy bassline, some clean singing from Ihsahn that’s not too dissimilar (and dare I say as good as) Trickster G’s on much of Perdition City. Most of the time it stays within the realm of trip hop and acid jazz, but it builds up to heavier and more guitar oriented sections a few times. “Black Star” has the greatest contrast between the darkwave mellow parts and the ferociously fast metal parts. Equal in goodness to the fourth track is the sixth, “Stillness”. It’s simultaneously cold, precise, and at times extremely bombastic, with wailing synth effects atop industrial drumming and with the creepy sound of swarming insects. Rounding out the album is an entirely mellow and dark piano led song, “The Banks of This River Is Night” (is that grammatically correct?). It’s not as compelling as many of the other songs, but it closes the record in a similar way as the opener begins it, and for that fact, it does what it should and is rather pretty in the process.
So that probably sounds like it has no cohesion whatsoever, and that was actually my initial impression of the album. But, what it lacks in stylistic cohesion it makes up for with moods and tones that compliment each other. While none of the songs sticks to one set style for their entirety, they all have a very dark and sinister vibe, and those vibes build as the album moves along, to the climax on “Stillness” before the mellow end. It’s all very deliberate and with each repeated listen, it begins to make more and more sense and subsequently become a more and more gratifying listen.
There’s really nothing worthy of complaint here. From how expertly crated this album is, which shows that Peccatum prides themselves on paying tremendous attention to all aspects of the creation of music, to the flawless musicianship and great production, Lost in Reverie is destined to become one of the top albums for this year. Easily. It’s just that good. Granted, I probably can’t stress enough to black metal purists who want another Emperor, it’s relatively hard, most of the time, to even tell that this is a project from Ihsahn. There are many moments of Emperor-like ferocity and heaviness, but for the most part this album is like a cross between Emperor and Star of Ash (Ihriel’s excellent other project). That’s exactly what I hoped for and while the way that they designed the melding of styles was hugely jarring at first, once it began to make sense it became apparent just how wonderful the album is.
I’m hugely pleased with Lost in Reverie; it’s a great step in the right direction for Peccatum, and a giant creative stride for Ihsahn from where he was with Emperor. Personally, I’d say everyone should check this out who’s even remotely interested, but that’s probably wishful thinking. It’s likely that this is a bit too ”out there” for many, but it’s also likely that for those who enjoy what Ulver and The Third and the Mortal are doing now but who would like to hear some more aggressiveness, this is an ideal release. For me, this is, indeed, an ideal release.
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