That Ihsahn is a tremendously talented musician goes without saying, but whether this album is to your liking or not probably depends on what kind of stuff you’re normally into. I admit that I didn’t quite know where to put “After” initially, being a fan of more straight-to-the-face stuff, aka musical warfare, so black metal influenced progressive metal wasn’t quite down my alley.

It took me a few weeks and several listening sessions to get a feel for this album. This said, I would still recommend this album, because it stands out from the crowd. The musical performances are very solid and I really LOVED the saxophone, it gives the music an unpredictable, almost impulsive touch, which is never a bad thing in my opinion. “After” definitely isn’t suitable for casual listening or steam-venting, it’s just good music: the mix surely is pretty tight and clear without having a sterile feeling to it.

I think it’s safe to say that one could divide this album in two parts, each of them with four songs: a rather black first part, maybe until the track “Undercurrent”, and a slower, more progressive part. I wouldn’t as far as saying that things get boring after above mentioned track, but the songs of the second half definitely lack some punch and overall crispness and seem to aim more for atmospheric feel than for aggressiveness.

All in all, I’d say that “After” is a record definitely worth buying, but if it’s suitable for the masses out there … well, I’m not so sure about that.

Track List Line Up
01. The Barren Lands
02. A Grave Inversed
03. After
04. Frozen Lakes On Mars
05. Undercurrent
06. Austere
07. Heavens Black Sea
08. On The Shores
Ihsahn – vocals, guitar, keyboard, piano
Lars K. Norberg – fretless bass
Jørgen Munkeby – saxophone
Asgeir Mickelson – drums