I am not very familiar with progressive music in general, but with this being Ihsahn, I had to give it a try. One fact clearly arises by listening to this album – Ihsahn is purely a musical genius and in my opinion the best of his kind alive on earth today. I think many people (me included) listen to Ihsahn’s solo work expecting it to be some form of Emperor, which is a ridiculous way of thinking. Yes, Emperor is amazing, but his solo work is in certain ways superior to it.
The album starts off with an interesting electronic section, which at first felt a little strange to me. Luckily it was interrupted by the familiar guitaring and piercing vocals that Ihsahn is known for. What a pleasant way to introduce the album. Lend Me The Eyes of Millenia is such an incredible song, and trust me, extremely catchy as well.
The second track was the first one from the album that I have heard, Arcana Imperii. The guitaring certainly got me slightly headbanging. I enjoy this song a lot, I feel like the lyrical work on it is brilliant and the dark yet comforting atmosphere it creates is incredible.
The next track, Sámr, has to be my favourite on the album. It gives me the same feeling of melancholy that I get when I listen to Steven Wilson. The music is incredibly soothing, and the vocals just adds to it. The lyrics are very depressing, but is this not what we all crave from extreme music?
Another big highlight for me is One Less Enemy. This feels good. There’s an atmosphere that you would expect from Black Metal, yet it just stays away from completely being that. The drumming and guitar sound stays extreme.
The album continues the musical journey into a track called In Rites of Passage. I get the sense when listening to this that there is much larger emphasis on Ihsahn’s voice than on the instruments playing in the background, which is all still pretty awesome. I enjoy it.
I really enjoy Marble Soul a lot. The riffs seems so sinister and the vocals feels like it attacks you, but then it all soothes out into a gentle melody, just to return to amazing riff. This is such an incredible piece of music.
The album ends on a high note with the track, Wake. I think the best guitar solo was saved for this track, this album leaves a lot to be thought about.
In Conclusion –
A musician like Ihsahn doesn’t need to prove himself anymore. This album shows just how much he matured as a musician overall. His guitaring, his vocals – everything sound like it is a natural extension of him as a human being. I don’t like giving albums perfect ratings, but Ámr definitely deserves it.
- Lend Me The Eyes Of The Millenia
- Arcana Imperii
- One Less Enemy
- Where You Are Lost And I Belong
- In Rites Of Passage
- Marble Soul
- Twin Black Angels