Ihsahn – After

While his former Emperor comrades decided to stick to the extreme metal path with Zyklon, Ihsahn decided to embark on a more progressive and experimental journey with Peccatum and three solo albums under his own name. His latest album is called After and it turns out to be one of his best offerings to date.

I have to admit I wasn’t too crazy about Angl, mainly due to its thin production and a couple of lesser inspired moments. You’ll soon forget about those little indiscretions from the past when the first notes of The Barren Lands and A Grave Inversed set in. Then you’ll start to realise that After is Ihsahn’s most inspired effort to date.

The feast continues with Frozen Lakes On Mars, Undercurrent and Heaven’s Black Sea. Each composition has its own unique character and is full of progressive niceties like awkward time changes, weird breaks, twisted and other jazz inspired progressive treats, thanks to Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar, Vintersorg) on drums and his Spiral Architect buddy Lars Nordberg on bass.

The icing on the cake are the freestyle jazz saxophone parts, courtesy of Jorgen Munkeby (Shining). His unconventional approach really pushes After into avant-garde country. It certainly adds to the originality factor.

Production wise Ihsahn made sure that After has this heavy and chunky sound, giving it a lot of edge.

Ihsahn really pushed his creative boundaries on After. It’s heavy, progressive and very intense. Certainly one of the best records of this year so far

written by Raymond Westland

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