Ihsahn – After (2010)


“After” is one of the first albums of 2010 that I had the pleasure of listening to, and it blew my mind from start to end. Ihsahn is clearly one of the few musicians that are true visionaries and are not afraid of bending the boundaries of music in order to share their vision with the world.

With each album topping the previous one, Ihsahn has constantly been evolving and incorporating different elements to his music until “After” where he blended the use of the saxophone in a highly impressive way that had me listening over and over to make sure my ears were not deceiving me. This paired with brilliant musical composition skills make this album one of the most complex and intricate I’ve reviewed in years.

Labeling “After” has been one of the hardest tasks that I’ve encountered in many years of reviewing music since it features almost EVERYTHING, brilliant Progressive Rock/Metal passages, harsh vocals, clean vocals, deranged saxophone lines, jazzy elements, melodic and aggressive riffs, ethereal keyboard melodies, etc, etc, it’s like musical jungle-juice, So if I had to label it as something I would call it Avant-garde Progressive Metal (other people might say Extreme Progressive Metal).

The album features 8 tracks for a total of 50+ minutes of a visionary journey into the mind of one of the most talented musicians the ‘extreme’ Metal scene has ever produced. Each track has its own brilliance to it, since you can find countless new details with every time you listen to it and it never get’s old. The tracks that feature that saxophone feel like a Noir novella that is unfolding with each note, unlike anything I’ve heard before. Perfectly mixed is a healthy dose of aggressiveness in the shape of harsh vocals that are contrasted by brilliant clean vocal harmonies, but just when you think have the song figured out, it quickly takes a change to the unpredictable.

Technically the music is brilliant; all guitar work is perfectly crafted and fits greatly with all other elements. The progressive elements of this album could make it stand by its own, but the combination of the sax with the aggressive touches makes this release legendary. I have to say that “After” is as close to perfection as I’ve ever heard.

“After” is one of those musical journeys that only come once in a lifetime, and I can only hope that Ihsahn can create another release as brilliant as this one, if not, he has surely created one of the best albums of the history of ‘extreme’ Metal. So be sure to grab this one, since it will surely become and instant classic.

Band: Ihsahn Album: After
Label: Candlelight Records

Release: January 26th, 2010

Official Site myspace
Genre: Progressive Metal

Country: Norway

Rating: 98/100

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