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Perfection, I invoke thee.. - 97%

Industriell_Olycka, March 31st, 2006

First of all, I may be a little bit biased. Emperor is my favorite black metal band, and I pretty much love anything that Ihsahn puts out. So a solo album? That's just.... perfection.

Ihsahn does everything himself here, except for the drums, provided by Asgeir of Borknagar and a million other bands. Each of the songs on the album is fairly different, but they all manage to keep the flow of the album.

The album opens with "Invocation." This sounds a bit like a later Emperor song, with some great riffage and some blasting. Ihsahn showcases all his vocals here (grim, clean, and falsetto). The second song, "Called by Fire," is fairly heavy metal, and definitely influenced by Mercyful Fate (one of Ihsahn's favorite bands). One thing that must be noted, is that Ihsahn has cut back on the keyboards. This is mainly a guitar-driven album, with keys providing a backdrop for the music. It's hard to describe it as particularly death or black, just... well.. metal.

"Homecoming," is probably the softest song on here, being mainly acoustic and singing. Garm's somewhere on here, but I didn't really notice him. The two best songs here are "Astera Ton Proino," and "And He Shall Walk in Empty Places." Astera's chorus has a sad, emotive riff, which just bleeds majesty. Empty Places is based on a lead guitar melody, which... bloody rules.

While I was expecting the last song "The Pain is Still Mine," to be a huge epic keyboard and guitar fest, it's.. not. It starts off with a piano, and then goes through several different phases. It's somewhat of a strange song. It's not really heavy or death or black or... anything. The best I can compare it to is probably a short Devil Doll song.

Anyway. If you liked later Emperor, Peccatum, or just what Ihsahn does in general, you'll love this. If you didn't, this won't change your mind.