Ihsahn | After (2010)
Feb 9th 2010 Patrick Saad Band/Album Reviews

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After “The Adversary” and “angL”, Ihsahn takes his solo project into an even higher level with “After”, his latest 2010 release which is his most experimental one, with a solid saxophone performance that fits perfectly with the album’s mood, as half prog-half black metal songs are followed by soaring melodic epics, setting the bar way up high for other musicians to compete, even this early in 2010.

"After" Cover

  • Review

  • The Barren Lands

Great mixing of layers as rhythm / melody combine with greatly drumming patterns (cymbal sound great). The song’s mood varies from mild aggressiveness to melodic layers of guitar alongside Ihsahn’s signature vocals.

Rating: 9/10

  • A Grave Inversed

In your face technicality (recall Emperor) with ongoing blast beats and flawless guitar riffs. Saxophone comes in for the first in the album and you know that it fits right in 😛 Such an adrenaline rush to hear a saxophone playing alongside fast guitar riffs and drum beats! Love the solo in the middle, melodic and expressive, not rushed. Several guitar layers are introduced on top of the other. JUST LISTEN TO THAT WEIRD SAXOPHONE LINES!

Rating: 9.5/10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxErez9VANY

  • After

The title song is an epic one, with soothing vocals alongside bright gloomy guitar chords. The song changes half away with a nice drum / guitar march which is continued to full growl vocals, still keeping the gloomy mood of the song, kinda reminded me of Mastodon’s latest album “Crack the Skye” where this atmospheric mood is present throughout the song.

Rating: 9/10

Ihsahn

  • Frozen Lakes of Mars

Melodic guitar lines kick off this song soon followed by headbangable riff (mind the drum patterns). Love the solo here with the wah peddal. The Chorus is melodic / calm vocals followed by the initial riff (obvious presence of keys). A sequence of solos come here with a variation on the initial riff (goes with an aggressive vocal style).

Rating: 9.5/10

  • Undercurrent (10 min song)

Love the acoustic / electric intro here with the frettless bass slides and the vocals/acoustic are nicely done with the keyboard effect in the background. Peaceful… Silence… these words describe the song’s first 3:25 (it took that much time to build up the song into it’s second part). A heavy riff is introduced here with the epic saxophone > bone-chilling epicness. Fast technical riff at the 5:40 min mark with a keyboard solo and full-scale destruction. 8 mins have gone by and the song is still interesting, and “deep deep down” the layers and overall mood keeps appearing (great mixing) with changing volume levels. LOVE THE OUTRO SAX!

Rating: 9.5/10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IRMy8H_iPg

Jorgen Munkeby

  • Austere

Acoustic/Electric melody/frettless bass (great throughout the song)/overall heavenly mood with the calm vocals. Great keyboard introduction with a little bluesy solo thrown there. At the 4 min mark, a new mood is introduced by that single keyboard lasting note and impressive frettless bass work! (possibly using flanger/wah or some effect).

Rating: 9.5/10

  • Heaven’s Black Sea

“Evil” marching introduction with dual guitar work (sometimes 3). The song is aggressive, not as much as “A Grave Inversed” since there’s some mood here that keeps the song atmospheric enough to lead it into the 2 min mark chorus and the guitar solo with great rhythm work in the background. Lovely saxophone parts after the mid point, weird and touching at the same time, with a background atmosphere intervened by guitar melodies. Some repetition here with some nice drum stops along the way, and back to the chorus.

Rating: 9/10

Ihsahn

  • On the Shores

The most epic song on the album for sure with those melodic guitar chords that make Ihsahn’s trademark sound along-with the best saxophone lines on the album (goosebumps for those frettless bass lines). It just keeps on transcending with that thick 8 string guitar riff introduced at the 4 min mark along-with the saxophone, Ihsahn’s growl attack and some great drum work (love the sound of those drum tomes!). Again the atmospheric acoustic strikes back and melodic song intro is brought back to life for a couple of minutes, not to be missed of course.

Rating: 10/10!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCJo9JsoigU

  • Links

Ihsahn on Myspace

Official Site

After on Amazon.com

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  • Jad Jawhari

    i love ihsahn.

  • Rami Rouhana

    I am sure he loves you too jad ! Black Metal Freak ! 😛

    I should get this album soon !

  • Rami Rouhana

    BTW . The album cover is very weak !

  • Patrick

    Well this album is the third part of the trilogy and it was meant to be like an ‘after’ period, best portrayed in “The Barren Lands”.

  • SerJ Panossian

    rami .. u mean the artwork ya3ne ?!
    used to listen to ihsan … cant remember what album tho :\

  • Yves

    One of the best reviews I’ve read over here, for one of the best albums of this decade for sure.
    I liked “The Adversary”, I loved “angL”, but this, this is an amazing album composed by a genius.
    And I second you Patrick on that 11/10 you gave for “On the Shores”, it’s without a doubt the best song on the album; the mood, the saxophone, and the “epicness”, everything is just put together in a great and intelligent way (Afterall, it’s Ihsahn).
    If you enjoy Prog/Experimental, Emperor, Opeth, and Jazz, this album, filled with different moods, is for you. Heck, it’s for every single metalhead out there.
    Thumbs up Patrick for this great review, keep ’em coming! 😀

    P.S: Concerning the album art, I personally enjoyed it, it’s quite different. Who knows what Ihsahn had in mind when he chose it.