Ihsahn – Àmr (2018)


Delicately balancing between Progressive and Extreme Metal, today we have the legendary Ihsahn and his seventh full-length release “Àmr”. For over 43 minutes, the master deliver some very unique and forward thinking music that stills retains the hunger and incisiveness of Ihsahn’s earlier work with Emperor while exploring newer and more complex musical directions.

Unleashing an incisive array of keyboards and harsh screams, the album perfectly kicks off with the hectic “Lend Me the Eyes of the Millennia”. This track follows more of Ihsahn’s early work structures, but with a modern and cutthroat edge that no other band has in Extreme Metal. The album’s first single, “Arcana Imperii” with a perfect blend of funky tempo changes and playful drumming that leads to dramatic vocal arrangements and crafty instrumentation. We highly enjoyed the moody clean vocals that give the song a more accessible (to non-extreme metal fans) side while enjoying Ihsahn’s brilliant song writing skills.

The lush “Sámr” sets a very dreamy and playful atmosphere with some Leprous-esque elements that nicely blend into this very melancholic song, thanks to some dramatic guitar leads. Pegged as an extreme departure from his Black Metal roots, we can’t quite agree on this as the album features some hellish riffs that while not ‘traditional’ BM, they sound evil as hell, like on “One Less Enemy”. This last track shows a similar evolution to Satyricon, both bands still create sinister music that has a devilish sound while being miles away from the bands that overdo it on their tremolo picking songs.

We particularly enjoy this release more experimental and exploratory songs like “Where You Are Lost And I Belong”, “In Rites of Passage” and our personal favorite “Marble Soul”, a truly twisted and intricate composition that keeps you guessing. On the progressive side, our favorite song in this release has to be, “Twin Black Angels”, a very dramatic piece that perfectly combines lush clean vocals with crafty instrumentation and highly melancholic guitar leads.

Overall, “Àmr” further propels Ihsahn’s legendary status as one of the most innovative and forward thinking musicians in Metal. This release continues to build on his past releases while exploring uncharted territories and delivering 43 minutes of brilliant music that thanks to its complexity, you will keep discovering new things the more you listen to it. This album is guaranteed to make it into the top 10 albums from us, and many other publications.

Bands: Ihsahn Album: Àmr

Label: Candlelight / Spinefarm Records

Release: May 4th, 2018

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Genre: Experimental Progressive Metal

Country: Norway

Rating: 96/100

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