Difficult, challenging and brilliant.
From the opening salvo the sound is distinctly Ihsahn. The enormity of the guitar on 'Arrival' is thrown into sharp contrast with the harsh rasp of the vocal. The riff chugs and moves without the clarity that reveals itself on each subsequent pass through. The song progresses into a traditional chorus giving something familiar to hang on to before the album moves on to pull the rug from under you.
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The thing I like about Isahn's music is the challenge he throws at the listener. With 'Eremita', it feels at times as if there is a will to write what the fans won't like. Songs incorporate expanded instrumentation, staccato rhythms and prolonged dissonance. The sax is often used to stretch the boundaries of your taste.
This album, more than others I've heard, seems to plough new depths as it draws you in to it's off the wall compositions. Oriental and jazz influences creep in and pull at the strings of your sensibilities while you enjoy the unique fabric that is 'Eremita'.
'Introspection', the third track on the album was the first to grab me. The immediately accessible and involving picked chord rhythm danced a jaunty ditty through my expectations and kept me hooked, switching from chords to chugs and from singing to fry vocals in a natural yet unexpected way.
After a couple of listens many of the tracks had me hooked. The nine minute meandering epic of 'The Eagle And The Emerita' proved a worthy source for the album title. 'Departure' closes the show a mix of straight forward thrashing, challenging note choices, changes in tempo and simple hooks.
I'm sure this is an album that could whir round on repeat without ever becoming tiring.