Rating:
6.0
Ihsahn - The Adversary
10 April 2006


01. Invocation
02. Called By The Fire
03. Citizen
04. Homecoming [Feat. Garm & Tore Ylwizaker]
05. Astera Ton Proinon
06. Panem Et Circenses
07. And He Shall Walk In Empty Places
08. Will You Love Me Now?
09. The Pain Is Still Mine


This is not the worst album I've heard this year but it's pretty far from being the best either. Ihsahn, for all that the black metal genre owes him, is still very much guilty of one of the most common sins in metal music - utter pretentiousness.

There is a clear sense of lack of direction on Adversary. Musically, this album is quite similar to Emperor's swan song Prometheus and includes the same mix of black metal and heavy metal with progressive leanings. There are actually heaps of ideas floating around on this album. The problem is that they seem to be there just for the sake of being there, as if Ihsahn simply wanted to use every melody and arrangement that popped into his mind without paying any attention as to how their juxtaposition affects the flow of the songs and the whole album in general. There are some particularly good parts here, most notably the progressive sections of "Homecoming" or the vicious black metal attack in the beginning of "Citizen"; however, we can't really appreciate them since we are constantly being distracted. The fairly amateurish production of this album doesn't help matters either. Adversary is more like a thrill ride with cheap gimmicks than a journey that actually takes us anywhere.

It seems to me that Ihsahn is at his best when there are some other band members there to tell him to stop with all the over-indulgence and place his ideas in a sensible groundwork. Without this leash, the eccentric Norwegian just makes a lot of noise.


Band profile: Ihsahn
Album: The Adversary


 



Written on 27.04.2006 by
jupitreas
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. Privately not actually an asshole, he lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he runs his small graphic and web design business.
More reviews by jupitreas ››



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Slaytanic1 - 29.05.2006 at 00:04  
Wow...I can't believe how much I disagree with you! Easily the best album I've heard all year, this is absolutely stunning. It didn't grab me on first listen but right now I can't stop playing it...genius.
Richard - 30.05.2006 at 02:28  
Personally, I think Ihsahn - The Adversary is an incredible album - it's exceptionally diverse, mature and emotional. The reviewer, jupitreas, is more a fan of industrial, noise and such, and he "only sometimes listens to metal", so it was kind of inevitable that he wouldn't appreciate this album. Still, I think this album has the potential to appeal to a fairly wide audience of Metal enthusiasts who actually care about proper Metal, whether it's black, prog, or traditional heavy metal. (No disrespect to jupitreas).
jupitreas - 30.05.2006 at 02:33  
I dont rate albums compared to styles that I happen to like the most. I always rate them on their own merits and, as I have described in the review, I believe this album simply does not achieve what it should achieve.

Please dont stereotype me.
Sanctimonius - 03.08.2006 at 15:35  
Fucking good album!! The best of the year!!
Dangerboner - 04.08.2006 at 02:13  
I haven't liked Ihsahn's vocals since Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. The vocals on this album are the worst he's ever done and is very distracting to the music.
Damnated - 04.08.2006 at 03:05  
Jup, are you mad ?? shure, it's your opinion, but this is a hell of an album, very original, and it managed to not be an Emperor sounding one.
Baz Anderson - 25.08.2006 at 14:05  
i think this is a good album but it failed to capture my full attention while listening to it
there just seemed to be something missing from it
i am sure if i listen to it again though, i will like it a lot more - i always like albums the more i listen to them
on first listen i would give it 6 or 7 out of 10 as well, but after a few listens i might want to give it more
dark awakening - 01.09.2006 at 14:24  
That's the kind of progressive metal that a lot of extreme metallers were searching for; great album!
LethargyMan - 02.09.2006 at 03:56  
Quote:
There are actually heaps of ideas floating around on this album. The problem is that they seem to be there just for the sake of being there, as if Ihsahn simply wanted to use every melody and arrangement that popped into his mind without paying any attention as to how their juxtaposition affects the flow of the songs and the whole album in general.
Yes! I completely agree on this point.
Stone - 10.09.2006 at 23:38  
" The Pain is Still Mine " is the best song ever made.
Winter Death - 12.09.2006 at 07:01  
This album wasn't exactly striking. There were some damn fine moments on the record, but nothing that totally blew me away. I think a rating of a "6" or "7" is deserved.
tomik - 23.12.2006 at 15:09  
I cant stop listening it too. Its better than Emperor, better than everything!!! Im realy looking forward to next album.
RimV - 04.04.2007 at 15:31  
fuking cool album...\m/
Hembrom - 05.04.2007 at 10:46  
Amazing album , dosnt deserve 6/10 IMO
For god sake dont compare ihsahn's early Emepror stuff with new one. The Adversary is NOT black metal. This album is one of the finest creations .... Amazing brilliant unique masterpiece .... Its an awesome extreme metal patch , forget about Ihsahn being in black metal band.
Very similar to Karl Sanders , Saurion Meditation is an amazing Epic stuff .... you just cant say that Karl should have stop making that kind of music only because he is doing amazing job in Technical Brutal Death Metal band NILE.
Bash' - 16.11.2007 at 14:04  
All of what you said guys is so true, alittle harsh rating, 6?? low really...

Not catchy but true like B.Anderson said the more you listen the more you admire, just a masterpiece.

Good job Ihsan
FrostbittenIlham - 26.12.2007 at 10:42  
I'm listening to it at the moment, and I agree with jupitreas for the most part. I didn't find any special atmosphere to it, although the rest is not bad at all. As jupi said, there's a lack of direction. This album doesn't deserve all the praise it gets, a 6.5/7 is a fair rating in my opinion.
Mr.Wilson - 30.12.2007 at 22:28  
One thing we have to have in mind is that this is Ihsahn's solo album..not emperor..and in my opinion direction it's not important here..i think this is a experimental album..that incorporates many styles..like progressive..power..and a bit of Black Metal..i think is a very emotional album..and the singing is amazing..i just love Ihsahn's voice..and the arrangements blew me away...so all of you who complains about the lack of direction..go listen the emperor albums..i would like to say..that sometimes we have to have an open mind..and this is an album that you need to have a open mind:)
Hamird - 11.03.2008 at 20:35  
i think the review is a brutal one ... the avarage of the review is 6.0 while the members vote is 9.0 .. whatever it is personal.
i think in progressive metal it is something new. i don't remember any band in progressive have released something like this album.
but what i can see is that Scandinavia is improved in Progressive music these days. after Pain of Salvation, Green Carnation and some other bands it is time for Ihsahn to show how Scandinavia rules the Metal ... waiting for the new album
Christ_13 - 22.04.2008 at 20:42  
what a sily review!!!
TheBigRossowski - 29.05.2008 at 22:36  
I listened to it once when I bought it and I was also not taken in. Now I'm listening to the new album's "Misanthrope" and wondering, did the last album sound like this. Its time to dive back into this album and see if I can appreciate it. Then perhaps I can also check out the new album as well. It has Mikael A. and that should be interesting!
dying2live - 23.06.2008 at 09:32  
Written by Mr.Wilson on 30.12.2007 at 22:28

One thing we have to have in mind is that this is Ihsahn's solo album..not emperor..and in my opinion direction it's not important here..i think this is a experimental album..that incorporates many styles..like progressive..power..and a bit of Black Metal..i think is a very emotional album..and the singing is amazing..i just love Ihsahn's voice..and the arrangements blew me away...so all of you who complains about the lack of direction..go listen the emperor albums..i would like to say..that sometimes we have to have an open mind..and this is an album that you need to have a open mind:)


I was scrolling down to say the same thing but you already said it for me. This is an experimental album I don't know why everyone forget such an obvious point.
tomik - 10.07.2008 at 20:21  
I wrote it bad. I should write "I love Emperor very much, but the solo project of Ihsahn(who was btw member of Emperor), which is in my opinion progressive black metal and is very similar to Emperor, is f*cking awesome masterpiece, which I like more than Emperor. Happy?;D
Uirapuru - 08.11.2009 at 13:15  
Quote:
There are some particularly good parts here, most notably the progressive sections of "Homecoming" or the vicious black metal attack in the beginning of "Citizen"; however, we can't really appreciate them since we are constantly being distracted.


Thats very true! Its like there is no continuity along the song.

I mean, a variable non-repetitive track, and a complex song structure are always welcome, but in here he simply shuts down the song in its pinnacle for the sake of ''progressivity''
SSM - 13.05.2013 at 16:50  
Actually I totally agree... with "Slaytanic1" and not a bit with the review (no offense).
This album is amazing, it's full of tales and stories and it's a thorough journey IMO.
The first time I listened to this album, I was confused too, 'cause it's too diverse and recondite.
Actually I think the mix and mastering made this album more and more vague and out of reach
which is the basis of this masterwork and this type of sound is precisely what this needs.
And about the "direction thing":
Of course they're Ihsahn different ideas here and there,
but what do you expect from an extreme progressive album?
Continuous blast beats with the same riff over and over again?
I'm not talking about the style, I mean it's the nature of this album to be varied and omnidirectional sometimes/all the time.
Although, I don't think what you've called "distractions" are actually "distractions".
In most of the songs on Adversary, the compositions just gets back to the roots,
for instance, somewhere in the middle of a song,
the story needs an insane part (or the opposite), after that we'll hear the main riff/lick/melody/motif(/whatever) again
which is a relief (generally speaking).

Anyway, I think this album and other Ihsahn albums are a bit too much to take in just in one meal.
It takes times but after that, you'll love it (in most cases! not always).

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