Ihsahn - angL

With his first solo album “The Adversary”, former Emperor vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn demonstrated that his musical tendencies do not restrict themselves to symphonic and epic Black-Metal in the vein of Emperor or the avant-garde Gothicism of Peccatum. Influenced by the early works of Mercyful Fate, Ihshan inaugurated his solo career with a release that bears strong connotations with styles like Heavy Metal and Progressive Metal, obviously without obliterating his Black Metal heritage. The new album “AngL” essentially picks up where its predecessor left off, even though the end result is way more impressive which might have something to do with the maturity gained by the Norwegian in the last few years and the incredible production work. Ihsahn have truly blossomed as a song writer, his talent for crafting powerful epics was already recognisable on most of Emperor’s releases, but in “AngL” such epic mood developed an extraordinary elegance and richness. Just listen to themes like “Scarab”, “Unhealer” and “Malediction” to witness that Ihsahn has carefully prepared this new album, adding rich textures and complexes arrangements that places him right along another talented musician named Mikael Akerfeldt.
The constant duality between light and darkness, with ferocious and aggressive passages intercalated with calmer and melodic parts, does effectively remind us of Opeth and it was probably due to some similarities between both bands, that Ishan invited Mikael Akerfeldt to sing on "Unhealer", a theme that could perfectly be featured in an album like “Ghost Reveries”.
With a great display of virtuosity, “Scarab” also carries out a likeable Opeth exuberance with gentle acoustic guitars interspersed among a storm of rabid and fast riffs and the use of a piano melody towards the end, backed up by invigorating clean vocals from Ihshan himself. The vocal performance of Ihsahn is also one of the most surprising aspects of "AngL", along with his recognisable and grim snarl the ex-Emperor have developed a gracious and limpid tone that’s simply impressive.

Of course there are moments that hark back to Emperor scattered throughout the album, the fierce opening theme “Misanthrope” and the mesmerizing “Malediction” are certainly two of them, but essentially “AngL” paves the way to an extremely challenging and interesting career in fields we’d never have expected to see Ihsahn crossing in with such an amazing ease.

Band info: www.ihsahn.com
Label info: www.candlelightrecords.co.uk