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The sophomore album to Ihsahn's solo project kicks off right from where The Adversary left off. The first track "Misanthrope" kicks in with the constant heavy hitting drums, and guitar riffs, and shrilling screams of Ihsahn. Not only do we see his signature screams, but also a lot of his true talent in his singing. Such as in the second track "Scarab" which has many well placed transitions, and is a quite a highlight on this album truly showing the art of progressive black metal. The many classical influences that showed in The Adversary, are still here in this album, along with a special guest front man of Opeth: Mikael Åkerfeldt.
Mikael and Ihsahn worked on the track "Unhealer" together which is a heavy black metal duet that is somewhat of a unique track. Just think of Opeth & Emperor mixed in together, quite a unique sound to me. As for the rest of the album I couldn't ask for more, the work done here is beautiful. The addition of synth keys placed so well, and the transitions just seem so perfect. The first 3 tracks are done so well, and it only gets better with the other 6 too. If you enjoy listening to black metal, and progressive music I highly recommend checking this album out.
Perhaps responding to criticism of his previous album as weaker than his previous black metal works, Ihsahn attempts to fight back with this latest release, which ultimately sounds like a throwback to Emperor's 'Prometheus' album with imitations of Opeth, right down to the presence of that band's frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt on vocals for 'Unhealer,' making it an entirely pointless piece of sub-Opeth progressive metal that only looks good when contrasted with the even more disappointing soundalike 'Threnody.'
The attempts to return to a fierce black metal sound are partly successful, especially in 'Emancipation' and 'Malediction,' but fans hoping for a return to earlier Emperor will be disappointed. This album fortunately lacks the weak heavy metal guitar riffs and solos of its predecessor, but it still doesn't impress as a progressive black metal album, or however exactly Ihsahn views his work. At its best, it's merely a backwards step to the days of 'Prometheus.'
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Unhealer - Mikael Åkerfeldt, Ihsahn,