Sound: Never one to let his musical talents go to waste, Ihsahn has been keeping busy, with the occasional Emperor show, Peccatum, and this -"The Adversary" his first solo album, released in 2006. The genre of this album, firstly, is very hard to explain. Black metal adherants should get their fix - there are most definately echoes of Emperors multilayered and brutal sound here on fantastic opener "Invocation" and "Citizen", while the CD also holds gems such as the jaw dropping "Astera Ton Proinon" and epic ten minute final track, "The Pain Is Still Mine". These tracks both contain grand orchestral arrangements, which compliment the bursts of brutality flawlessly.
The album also contains enough axe-weilding virtousity and unusual time signatures to keep prog fans happy. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics, like much Ihsahns work, focus on the occult, and it can be quite difficult to determine the songs true meanings, while not necassarily a bad thing as it leaves the meanings open to ones interpretation. Opinion of Ihsahns voice has always been divided, some love it, some hate it. I believe that on this album the singing is fantastic, "Called By The Fire" and "Invocation" feature falsetto parts that would not sound out of place in a King Diamond composition and "Astera Ton Proinon" shows Ihsahns versatility as a singer, the operatic verses really stand out and remain with you long after you hit stop.
The "dirty" vocals however, while fine on the majority of the album, have a few moments where you can't help but think one more take could have sounded better, the ending to "He Shall Walk In Empty Places" is one example of this.
These moments however are few and far between, and fantastic gutteral shreiks can be found all over the album, "Citizen" and "Invocation" being particualr highlights. // 8
Overall Impression: Some overly harcore Emperor fans will find things wrong with this album, mainly because they want to, and this album should be enjoyed for what it truly is, an intelligent, haunting and brutal vision by a fantastic composer, not as a continuation of Emperor. Standout songs in my eyes are "Invocation", "Called By The Fire", "Citizen", "Astera Ton Proinon" and "The Pain Is Still Mine", I was a little dissapointed with "Homecoming", simply due to the fact that Garm performs lead vocals, and that song would have been fantastic with Ihsahn doing the job.
If this album were stolen, I would most certainly buy another. This review is a little late, but there were no others for this album here. Angl was fantastic also, and I hop that Ihsahn continues making music of this calibre for years to come. // 10