Review: Ihsahn’s Eremita

Ihsahn: EremitaIhsahn: Eremita (Candlelight, 6/19/12)

“The Paranoid”

Ihsahn: “The Paranoid”

Though the hazy noise of 1992’s Wrath of the Tyrant may seem a far cry from the sleekly produced Eremita, the songwriting of former Emperor guitarist and vocalist Ihsahn always has been based upon a very specific melodic voice. There is a clear thread from the tremolo-picked intro to “I Am the Black Wizards” (from 1993’s Emperor) to the arpeggiated “Introspection” (from Eremita), even if one composition tends much more towards Celtic Frost and the other much more towards Gentle Giant. Eremita, or “The Hermit,” is Ihsahn’s fourth solo album, and it continues a hybrid of progressive rock and black metal that was heard on Emperor’s later albums such as IX Equilibrium and Prometheus.


The Metal Examiner: Saille’s Irreversible Decay

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

Saille: Irreversible DecaySaille: Irreversible Decay (Code666 Records, 3/4/11)

Saille: “Plaigh Allais”

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/04-Plaigh-Allais.mp3|titles=Saille, “Plaigh Allais”]

Though the genre arguably has lulled for the better part of the past decade, symphonic-metal creators and consumers alike have welcomed any possible heirs to Emperor’s long-abdicated throne. With Irreversible Decay, Belgian five-piece (nine-piece, if you count the in-studio classical personnel) Saille throws its hat into the ring by way of nine tracks that are mostly symphonic in intention, even if not always in execution, and definitely leaning more towards the “black metal” part of the label.

Coupling moments of nominal tastefulness (the acoustic guitar fueling intro track “Nomen,” the quasi-classical breakdown in “Maere”) with wider expanses of muddied percussion and thrashing guitars, Irreversible Decay quickly reveals itself firmly planted in the genre’s time-honored blueprint. Cellos and violins float over acoustic guitars — but only over the acoustic guitars. Saille respects its ambitions but also very blatantly segregates them from each other, resulting in music that constantly sounds as though it’s hedging its bets.