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Ihsahn | The Adversary | review | metal | Lollipop


The Adversary (Candlelight)
by Martin Popoff

Pre-release chatter from our serious man had this being an inviting mixed bag, but now that I hear it, Ihsahn's managed to take his many, highly creative ideas and make them work unified. Essentially, what you get is Peccatum crossed with Emperor, stitched together by the occasional and brief prog metal tendencies of either of those that might be described as mainstreamy. Three other things chain Ihsahn to his considerable legacy: One is the busy drumming courtesy of Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar, Spiral Architect), who often steals the show and yes, takes the sum total of this into mensa-metal Borknagar terrain often. Second, those vocals of the guy: Throaty, dry, none too warm, none to laden with personality beyond a miasmic amoral depressive state with fog. Third, Ihsahn seems to be set on his unoiled steel-on-steel scrape come production time. The drums are clacky and twee, the guitars... struggling, bass - there is none. It's like everything is parched. To each his own, and that is certainly a unifying factor toward all that has come before. But it's the unity within the record that is the coolest thing here. Despite all of the guy's really cool metal ideas, he's managed to spread them around so everything works together uniform-on-average to create a strange world of grand, dark proginess, of an importance. And yet you still feel this is intimate, on some level: A solo album, a loud contemplation by one guy with lots on his mind. It comes off as catharsis, not of pain, but a guy somewhat merrily getting work done, even if that work is almost as world-weary and cynical as that of his crosstown doppel, Zyklon.


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