with his music when it comes to his solo work, so very few people will
be in for a shock when I tell you that this album isn’t just “a black
metal” album; as a matter of fact it is an alloy of black metal,
progressive metal, jazz music and classical music! And what’s more
amazing is the star-studded line-up featured on the album.
We have Jorgen Munkeby (of Norwegian black metal band Shining) playing the saxophone on almost half the album including tracks like “The Eagle And The Snake”, “The Grave” and “Catharsis”. Tobias Andersen (from Norwegian progressive/avant-garde metal outfit Leprous)
displays his mettle on the drums and of course the man himself; Ihsahn,
handling the guitar, bass, vocals and song writing. A few guest
appearances too are present. Devin Townsend has repaid
Ihsahn (for his guest vocals on “Juular” from Devin’s latest album
“Deconstruction”) and settled the score by singing on “Introspection”.
Ex-Nevermore member and guitar prodigy Jeff Loomis too
has done a few solos on the album in return for Ihsahn helping Jeff on
his latest solo album “Plains of Oblivion”. Ihsahn’s wife, Heidi Tveitan, too has lent her voice on “Departure”. Not only this but another member of Leprous has been brought in to help out Ihsahn; Einar Solberg
has contributed his voice for “Arrival”! Most of the guest appearances
are not quite visible, although this surely has turned out to be a great
“Eremita” is symphonic yet quite heavy and the vast number of artists
gives it a distinct and unique style. “Arrival” is very melodic yet
very progressive at the same time with great clean vocals by Einar. One
cannot quit headbanging to heavy tracks like “The Paranoid” and “The
Grave” each heavy in their own way; the former being one of the best
tracks with off-beat rhythm and the latter being quite a down-tempo song
with the saxophone playing an important role in it.
The solos too are praiseworthy; the credit for some solos going to
Jeff Loomis. I personally did not like the addition of the saxophone to
the album overall but I’m sure that it will appeal to many people.
“Catharsis” is yet another great melodic song. The bass guitar is very
prominent on the entire album. Tobias adds to the assault, displaying
different styles and patterns of drumming.
“Something Out There” is my personal favorite. It is a ‘blast from
the past’ reviving what Emperor had achieved on their last 2 albums.
Ihsahn’s wife, Heidi, adds to the greatness of the album by giving her
peaceful voice on “Departure”. One huge let-down was Ihsahn’s vocals
that no longer contain their former aggressiveness and have become meek
and timid. Ihsahn’s music is as complex and deep as his lyrics.
This album is not one which will attract the usual mob of metalheads
because of the depth of the music which can only be understood by a few.
This is not an album that the listener will like after just one hear.
You have to hear the album at least 3 times before the tracks can get a
grasp of you. By releasing “Eremita”; some fresh and innovative material, Ihsahn has taken great risk and broken the boundaries of orthodox metal and taken the genre to a whole new level.