If you are not yet aware of who Ihsahn is, allow me to first off throw you a very small history lesson. First coming to prominence in the now highly regarded symphonic/experimental black metal band Emperor before deciding, after four increasingly more technical and progressive albums to part ways. After a couple of short lived projects he found comfort in this self titled solo project.
Here is where Ihsahn emerged as much a sonic artist as a musician, starting his solo career off with a trilogy of albums that pushed the limits of the black metal and progressive music he was known for, before pushing his fans ever further with abstract experiments into most forms of music imaginable before beginning a return of sorts with previous album Arktis where he began to reign in some of the more abstract elements that he was experimenting with.
‘Lend Me the Eyes of Millenia’ begins with waves of 80s style synth washing Ihsahn’s harsh vocal rasp before some intense drums come in courtesy of Tobias Andersen, the only other recording member of this solo project, creating some of the blackest metal he assembled since his first solo album The Adversary.
The haunting feeling of the synth is the best tool used on this album, in lieu of the usual symphonics layered throughout Ihsahn’s musical history and giving everything a much darker hue than anticipated. This works particularly well on the slower ballad like songs such as ‘Where You Are Lost And I Belong’ and ‘Sàmr’ that both sound lifted from an 80s album while carrying a darkness best left up to the listener to digest. It’s also used to great effect as a lead instrument scattered throughout a heavy track such as ‘In Rites of Passage’.
Ámr is really a testament to the writing and artistic nature of this project. Ihsahn has mentioned in interviews that he only writes music to please himself, and one look at his recorded output shows this to be completely true. What this album does is take all of the differences on those albums and pushes them together into one big melting pot to create a dynamic best listened to before judgement is passed. No two songs really share anything in common other than the man writing them but fit together seamlessly, weaving a tale that is embedded in the music for the listener to find.
- Lend Me the Eyes of Millennia
- Arcana Imperii
- One Less Enemy
- Where You Are Lost And I Belong
- In Rites of Passage
- Marble Soul
- Twin Black Angels