It’s hard to avoid negativity when leaving a band to rest and starting a solo project but Emperor’s former frontman Ihsahn has rebuilt himself into something equally as epic. After releasing his first two solo albums, Ihshan left behind the black metal influences he had taken from the Emperor ages, concentrating firmly on making a prog metal masterpiece. 2010’s ‘After’ proved this transition and ‘Eremita’ continued to follow lead. Although the Norwegian’s raspy vocals are still making an aural appearance, Ihsahn shows off his softer side, with his own clean vocals and guest vocals from the likes of Devin Towsend.
A couple of tracks showcase the black metal riffs many would expect, however the majority of ‘Eremita’ is plain bizarre, with jazzy influences and minimalistic moments that make you wonder how easy creating this album actually was. Admittedly, it’s flawless and stretches boundaries within metal (especially thanks to an amazing saxophone solo) but it seems as though Ihshan didn’t need to push himself to create it. It’s great to see an artist, similar to the aforementioned Devin Townsend, trying out completely new sounds, but when you’ve previously been crowned a genius, many will expect you to sound like you’ve nearly killed yourself making the album, which is unfair when it’s as catchy as ‘Eremita’.
Reviewed by Lily Randall
To be published in Devolution Magazine’s Sept issue