IHSAHN — angL

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IHSAHN - angL cover
4.15 | 22 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2008

Filed under Progressive Metal
By IHSAHN

Tracklist

1. Misanthrope (4:58)
2. Scarab (5:17)
3. Unhealer (6:17)
4. Emancipation (5:27)
5. Malediction (4:19)
6. Alchemist (4:19)
7. Elevator (5:07)
8. Threnody (5:08)
9. Monolith (6:27)

Total Time: 47:22

Japanese Edition:
10. Morningstar (4:49)

Line-up/Musicians

- Ihsahn / Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
- Asgeir Mickelson / Drums

Guest musicians:
- Lars K. Norberg / Bass
- Mikael Åkerfeldt / Vocals (track 3)

About this release

Mnemosyne Productions
May 26th, 2008

Thanks to bartosso, adg211288 for the updates

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UMUR
"angL" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive/extreme metal act Ihsahn and is the successor to "The Adversary (2006)". The album was released through Mnemosyne Productions in May 2008. After Emperor originally disbanded in 2001, Ihsahn (real name Vegard Sverre Tveitan) first collaborated with his wife Ihriel (Real name Heidi Solberg Tveitan) on the avant-garde metal act Peccatum, but in 2006 he opted for a solo career, and thus Ihsahn was born. As the case was on "The Adversary (2006)", Ihsahn handles all guitars and keyboards, and most of the singing on "angL". Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar, Spiral Architect...among others) again handles the drums, and bass and fretless bass are played by Lars K. Norberg (Spiral Architect). Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth makes a lead vocal guest appearance on "Unhealer".

The music on the album continues down the progressive/extreme metal path of "The Adversary (2006)", just better produced, better written, and better performed. Stylistically Ihsahn is still in the same genre as Opeth, and "Unhealer" could almost have been a track by Opeth if I didn´t know better. Ihsahn is not a clone act though and Tveitan still manages to create an original sounding style (despite the obvious references to Opeth). The balance between light and dark, acoustic/distorted guitars, clean/raw snarling vocals, and atmospheric and heavy moods, is something Tveitan masters to perfection. His past in Emperor is not heard often in the music, but the way he uses the swirling neo-classical oriented keyboards, and the occasional blast beat section do lead my thoughts in that direction.

The material on the 9 track (10 tracks on the Japanese edition), 47:22 minutes long album is of a very high quality throughout. Every track is intriguing and memorable, and the quality of the material only drops very few times during the listening experience. Highlights could be "Scarab", "Emancipation", "Unhealer", and "Monolith", but it´s a consistently high quality album which deserves to be listened to from beginning to end.

As mentioned above "angL" is also a very well produced album, performed by very skilled musicians. It´s hard not to praise the inventive drumming by Asgeir Mickelson, but everything on the album is skillfully played. For instance check out the many well played guitar solos and harmony themes. To my ears Tveitan is a bit of a compositional genius too (his classical/symphonic arrangements are also quite clever) and taking all features into consideration "angL" comes of as quite the brilliant release and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.
Conor Fynes
'Angl' - Ihsahn (8/10)

Once the front man of Emperor, guitarist and vocalist Ihsahn has come a long way from the primal times of early black metal. Now a respected individual in both the black and progressive metal circles, he is certainly one to impress with this; his second release. While 'Angl' can feel a bit pressured at times, a good performance and great songwriting takes Ihsahn's blackened roots and projects it to a whole new level of creative spirit.

One of the first things that the typical metal fan will notice with this album is appearance of Opeth vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt on the third track; entitled 'Unhealer.' As one of my personal favourite vocalists, Akerfeldt does a great job of using a warm, clean voice to counterpoint Ihsahn's screams. While I wasn't a fan of Emperor before getting 'Angl' (I am now,) hearing that Akerfeldt was on this album was a great way to convince me to buy the album, and the performance works out to be much more than just a sales pitch.

The songwriting is kept under pretty average song lengths and structures, although there are instances- such as in the song Elevator- where the music trails into something soft and different. There are amazing riffs aplenty here, which makes the fact that there isn't a whole lot of technical experimentation work with the album instead of against it. That said, this is not the most ground-breaking piece of metal in the world. Instead, it takes existing black metal conventions, and transforms it into something fresh and layered. While the majority of the vocals are 'extreme' in nature, it's a nice change for him to go clean for a bit, which adds another dimension of melody.

Ihsahn has done something here that is just short of being a masterpiece. Had it been for a little more detail to album flow and continuity and one or two more highlight tracks (there are already plenty to mention) 'Angl' would have surely become a landmark in the history of metal. While the mark might have been hit here, I have no doubt that in the future, Ihsahn has the potential not only to hit, but absolutely demolish the barriers of what black metal can do. A great, rocking progressive metal album.

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  • Bosh66
  • powermetal2000
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