Rather than counting down the days until we can celebrate Christmas, this year we’re bringing you a series of metal posts will be celebrating the countdown until we don’t have to be inundated with Christmas music and decorations everywhere. To coincide with this countdown we’ll be posting our top 25 metal (and metal-ish) albums of 2012. 25 days of hell, 25 rad metal albums to make up for it.
Having already proven his metal prowess in his time with Emperor and his first three solo albums, Ihsahn doesn’t appear to be very content resting on his laurels, even this far into his career. Mostly sticking to the incredibly progressive black metal ethos he’s cultivated in the last two decades, Eremita provides a number of vaguely familiar musical concepts, textures and soundscapes for anyone familiar with Ihsahn’s work. That being said, he still finds a way to reach out stylistically just a bit more than on previous efforts. Writing and recording many of the instruments himself, Ihsahn also made use of some studio musicians to cover some things on drums and bass, as well as all of the saxophone duties. For those unfamiliar with Ihsahn’s solo work, that’s not a joke. Eremita heavily features saxophone parts, much like After did, and it works remarkably well, especially on tracks like “Something Out There” where it is at its most aggressive. As a whole, Eremita doesn’t push the boundaries very far from where Ihsahn had already taken them, but it’s still one of the most progressive and interesting metal albums released in 2012, especially from a songwriting perspective. Ihsahn has made a habit of constantly living up to (and often exceeding) expectations, Eremita is no different.