by Octopi Mills

The multi-talented and legendary Emperor musician Ihsahn has returned with another studio album, by the name of "Eremita". The sound and performance here will not be unfamiliar to his past solo albums "The adversary", "Angl", and "After", all of which shows the man handling his own distinctive music and craft like one would expect from a man of such capabilities .

The first track flies by me and is forgotten, and it is usual and known, as i have also heard the earlier solo albums, though the second track "The Paranoid" comes across with some great music and some of the expected clean type vocals that are typical in everything in his style of singing from what began on "Anthems..." from Emperor and on the previous Ihsahn albums, and that is a unique thing that makes one recall the artist immediately, surely. Guitars weep and wail and wind from the tool box of the professional, as always. There are some great moments in music happening on "The Eagle and the Snake". The arrangements are almost jazz like, though one can hear all sorts of metal of the dark and black, deathly kind, as always. The fourth song, "Catharasis", makes me recall how I dislike the vocals of the project, and certain other song writing elements one cannot deny.

"Something out there" is usual, typical, and dull as an old excavated Saxon's sword, though not near as interesting, and i am given a daemonic energy to oppose the music in a more deserved, vengeful sense, and it allows me to get ugly and say the most terrible things- which I now, of course, must do.

To say this man has talent would be an obvious understatement, and in spirit Ihsahn could, ideally, deliver something that would change music again, perhaps like he has done with the old you know what in the past. Here I also felt things went asunder, and I can trace it back to latter albums of the band, and it is also obvious that this is where something of the old was lost. Now then, I understand that the comparisons are shadows the artist wished to avoid, and big shadows they are. But what is truly missing is the atmosphere of true darkness and evil, which is something that was in the spirit of what the man has always been good at. And sure, you can have horns, saxophone, circus apes if you want- to this i will not argue. In this sense it is not that I am caught in the past  when i hear it, it is just that it is not to the man's full potential and something is missing in the way of direction. There is an almost pop-like aspect to some of the vocals, and this is it is slain and where the man fails in his own conventional, modern and "progressive" sense, as have all others who have come and gone before on such a select path as this. And that does not mean it will not appeal to the masses for a few seconds. The darkness is hinted, but it is not in full magic, and does not leave the awful awe of the old shadows that blight the project. Though change we all must, some things die when one "outgrows" his past. Still, the shadows lumber and leer, independent and of their own will; elemental and archetypical, and they will surround another one day with the old and make it anew.