We've just received word from Candlelight Records confirming January 26 as the American release date for After, the new album from former Emperor vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn. Recorded during the first half of 2009, After completes the musician’s planned trilogy of initial recordings. The album also showcases the talents of drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect), bassist Lars K. Norberg (Spiral Architect) and saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby (Shining).
"This is my first album written with eight-string guitars as basis which has been both challenging and inspiring,” says Ihsahn. “I also decided early on that I wanted to mix this album with Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia) and recorded the album with that in mind. Asgeir and Lars have again delivered superb performances. I've always wanted to implement the saxophone in my music; Jorgen’s contributions truly added a silver lining to the album."
The album, like 2008's angL, was tracked over an eight-month peroid in Ihsahn's own Symphonique Studio, with additional work at Toproom Studio (co-engineered by Borge Finstad). “I have felt more confident and more at ease with the material,” Ihsahn says. “In letting the songs themselves lead the way I just followed the natural impulses."
After the demise of Emperor in 2001, Ihsahn continued his work with Peccatum, the band he formed in 1998 with life-partner Ihriel (Heidi Solberg Tveitan). After the release of 2005’s mini-album, The Moribund People, his first writings of solo material began. Ihsahn’s first recording,The Adversary, found the musician composing and performing all instruments and immediately struck a chord with his hordes of fans worldwide. The album afforded Ihsahn the opportunity to embrace more expansive sonic textures previously untouched in Emperor. The album also saw a return of his various lyrical muses.
"Icaros, Lucifer, Prometheus, Zarathustra are all persons of history who challenged commonly accepted, most often enforced "truths," despite civilization's persecution of them and their followers,” he says. “Their stories are inspirational."
AngL would follow in 2008, and featured a musical collaboration with Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt on the song “The Unhealer.”
In mid-2009, Ihsahn gave his first live performance selecting material from his first two solo albums; the performance in Oslo supporting Opeth. Early discussions in regards to After are indicating more live activities but where and when currently remains a secret.
After's track listing:
1) The Barren Lands
2) A Grave Inversed
4) Frozen Lakes on Mars
7) Heavens Black Sea
8) On the Shores