Ihsahn - Eremita
He might have emerged from a juvenile, if delinquent and dangerous, scene, but Ihsahn has firmly established himself as a musician producing intricate, intelligent music – the thinking man's black metal, if you will. Since the initial demise of Emperor at their peak, his solo records have demonstrated a guile and craftsmanship virtually entirely absent from the genre, and album number four Eremita is no exception as it weaves its spell through blistering heaviness and ethereal ambience striking a remarkable balance.
And whilst Eremita will appeal to those already in love with his previous work, for the first time in Ihsahn's career, there is a faint whiff of staleness, a lack of progression. The jump to here from The Adversary, the first record in this run, is decidedly minimal, nothing more than a tweaking of the formula; given the man's history, more would be expected of him by now. It might take the gloss off Eremita, but this is still a good album that shows that black metal is not all about church burnings and tinny, lo-fi buzzing.