Rating:
9.0
Ihsahn - Eremita
18 June 2012


01. Arrival
02. The Paranoid
03. Introspection
04. The Eagle And The Snake
05. Catharsis
06. Something Out There
07. Grief
08. The Grave
09. Departure
10. Recollection [deluxe edition bonus]


Shovel parting earth and an unnerving scream signal an imminently approaching force. A force to be reckoned with it is one which mouths to you your own doubts and brings you to question your own sanity. The listener will find themselves in a position from which they cannot move, fastened tight within a straight-jacket of exceptionally resilient musical compositions.

But what is this madness, what is Eremita? It is certainly an irregularity, one moulded into form by the nimble fingers of mastermind Ihsahn. Progressively inclined he creates slick tracks which are amply built along a black metal frame characterised by a disharmonious combination of saxophone, vocal and guitar work.

A thick groove endures throughout the album with pulsating melodies breathed into life with Ihshan's own vocal work and that of guests Townsend on "Introspection", wife Ihriel on "Departure", and Solberg of Leprous on the opener "Arrival." Luminary Loomis lends "The Eagle And The Snake" a harnessed guitar delivery which accompanies Ihshan's own proficient use of the instrument.

Smatterings of symphonic black and well utilised keyboards make for startling interjections, and some tracks have more of a stylistically progressive metal edge. The ease with which the transitions in sound are executed really gives this album a highly accessible fluidity. The percussive strength perpetuated by Anderson, also of Leprous, is versatile and adjusts accordingly to the requirement for rhythmic evolution. No track displays this creativity more fully than "The Eagle And The Snake" in which the harsh vocals of Ihsahn bring forth an evident metamorphosis. This manifests throughout the album in the sound bearing more of an appropriately black metal infused delivery, into and from which it changes with staggering ease. At times it takes on more of a progressive sound which is housed in symphonic elements. At others it becomes more of a jarring and avant-garde accommodation of the saxophone, such as its unsettling usage in the percussively irregular track "The Grave."

Yet so effectively sewn together is this maniacal mix of progressive and black metal that either of these become nearly unidentifiable. The consistency in song writing is granted strength from a polished and satisfyingly layered production which creates no inhibition for any of the elements. The sax of Munkeby is successfully used and its presence isn't overstated or brought to the fore, rather it is placed in a balance with the other instruments.

In this album Ihsahn is paradoxically both the stirrer of maddening thoughts and your only hope of sanity. Nowhere is this best represented than when he issues forth his harsh vocals amongst the chaos as opposed to his cathartic cleans in the moments of introspective tranquility. Eremita is one man's madness presented to you in a musical form at once engaging and remarkable.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Ihsahn
Album: Eremita


 



Written on 04.11.2012 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››



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embracing - 04.11.2012 at 10:38  
Good review (though maybe a bit hard to read ), AWESOME album!
Definitely in my top 5 of the year, unless the remainder of the year really surprises us

Somehow these Ihsahn albums become less and less metal, but still have tons in weight. It's not a bad thing, it shows a real master experimenting.
The sax, for me, is a bit too pretentious... it mostly just sounds random... but hey, maybe that's just me.
Unhealer - 04.11.2012 at 14:46  
My favorite thing this year. Wasn't Loomis on "The Eagle And The Snake"? I also remember Ihriel on "Departure", not "Introspection".
R'Vannith - 04.11.2012 at 15:52  
Written by Unhealer on 04.11.2012 at 14:46

My favorite thing this year. Wasn't Loomis on "The Eagle And The Snake"? I also remember Ihriel on "Departure", not "Introspection".


Yeah I clearly haven't attributed them to right tracks there. You have it right.

Edit: Corrected now.
tea[m]ster - 04.11.2012 at 17:15  
Very nice in-depth review, I just didn't find this album as good as After. Kind of a disappointment for me.
BloodTears - 04.11.2012 at 18:57  
I liked "After" but I can't like "Eremita" at all. It's just too random and going nowhere as I see it. I understand other visions people have on it but I just can't see that in this album.

I guess I don't understand you Ihsahn and that is fine
TrollandDie - 04.11.2012 at 21:42  
Definately the most 'well-spoken' of reviews I've read here on MS.

As for this album, it's been on my ''to listen'' queue for too long now. While I'm a massive Emperor fan, I've yet to give his solo work a chance yet. Would I be disappointed if I'm expecting this album to sound like ''Anthems to the Welkin At Dusk'' within a supercharged prog metal outfit?
M C Vice - 05.11.2012 at 05:08  
Written by TrollandDie on 04.11.2012 at 21:42

Would I be disappointed if I'm expecting this album to sound like ''Anthems to the Welkin At Dusk'' within a supercharged prog metal outfit?


if this is anything like AngL, then yes.
R'Vannith - 05.11.2012 at 16:00  
Written by TrollandDie on 04.11.2012 at 21:42

Definately the most 'well-spoken' of reviews I've read here on MS.

As for this album, it's been on my ''to listen'' queue for too long now. While I'm a massive Emperor fan, I've yet to give his solo work a chance yet. Would I be disappointed if I'm expecting this album to sound like ''Anthems to the Welkin At Dusk'' within a supercharged prog metal outfit?


Thanks, and if you're expecting something like that I think you're in for a pretty amazing album. Though expect that sound to be not only within the "supercharged prog", but pretty much buried and drenched in it. You'll still be able to tell it's him at the helm though I imagine, given the distinctive style he produces.
Maxx666 - 05.11.2012 at 17:19  
I'm getting this album on this weekend.. Just heard some of tracks on youtube, to be honest it opened up a new horizon in my mind... I mean its just so innovative, smooth and its filled with atmospheric elements which takes this album to a whole new level....9.5/10
Dylan - 06.11.2012 at 03:33  
Haven't heard of the band before and checked out The Paranoid on Youtube. I was blown away what a great track, getting the album.
Merchant of Doom - 06.11.2012 at 11:11  
Pretty good album if you can stand its angularity...
Omnicosm - 07.11.2012 at 05:45  
It's border-lining on bombastic, but I enjoyed your review. It definitely piqued my interest to this album and Ihsahn.
Opethian - 08.11.2012 at 06:27  
Written by tea[m]ster on 04.11.2012 at 17:15

Very nice in-depth review, I just didn't find this album as good as After. Kind of a disappointment for me.


Agreed One thing that i will credit Ihsahn for is that he did not hype the album and it turned out to be a solid record, nothing more unfortunately
Opethian - 08.11.2012 at 06:29  
Written by Maxx666 on 05.11.2012 at 17:19

I'm getting this album on this weekend.. Just heard some of tracks on youtube, to be honest it opened up a new horizon in my mind... I mean its just so innovative, smooth and its filled with atmospheric elements which takes this album to a whole new level....9.5/10


Dont miss out on 'After'
tea[m]ster - 11.11.2012 at 16:11  
Written by Opethian on 08.11.2012 at 06:27

Agreed One thing that i will credit Ihsahn for is that he did not hype the album and it turned out to be a solid record, nothing more unfortunately


Yep. It isn't bad but I just don't get an "epic" feel as I did with After
Opethian - 11.11.2012 at 18:07  
Written by tea[m]ster on 11.11.2012 at 16:11

Written by Opethian on 08.11.2012 at 06:27

Agreed One thing that i will credit Ihsahn for is that he did not hype the album and it turned out to be a solid record, nothing more unfortunately


Yep. It isn't bad but I just don't get an "epic" feel as I did with After


This is True
Apothecary - 01.03.2013 at 13:50  
Great review. Call me a heretic, but I actually haven't gotten around to listening to this yet
But if Ihsahn still makes use of the sax on it, as you say, I'm down. That's what made After such a fun trip for me, and I really hope that's a trademark that he begins to keep in his work.

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