Candlelight Records today confirmed January 26th 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 showcases the Norwegian icon with drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect), bassist Lars K. Norberg (Spiral Architect), and saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby (Shining).
"This is my first album written with 8-string guitars as basis which has been both challenging and inspiring," he comments when discussing the creative process. "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."
Again working at his own Symphonique Studio, with additional work at Toproom Studio (co-engineered by Borge Finstad), After was meticulously laid out over an eight month period. The intensity of the project has more than paid off with early listenings already proclaiming it to be the most poignant creations of his solo efforts. "I have felt more confident and more at ease with the material," relays IHSAHN. "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 comments. "Their stories are inspirational. AngL would follow in 2008. Metal Maniacs said, "whereas The Adversary was a sonic coping mechanism - all aspects of the album were tightly controlled - AngL finds the visionary widening and deepening the canvas." Decibel Magazine called the album, "as compelling as Emperor's best; IHSAHN sounds as fresh as he did fifteen years ago, but with the hindsight of a grown man." AngL featured a musical collaboration with Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt for the song "The Unhealer."
Spellemann (Norwegian Grammy) Award Nominee IHSAHN (born Vegard Tveitan) began playing music at a very early age. As a teenager, his friendship with Tomas Haugen (a.k.a. Samoth) would trigger the start of his music career - one that to date includes over fifty individual recordings, five high-profile Emperor European tours (the band reaching US shores on only three occasions) and the respect of fans and peers worldwide.
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.
Confirmed track listing for After is:
1. "The Barren Lands"
2. "A Grave Inversed"
4. "Frozen Lakes on Mars"
7. "Heavens Black Sea"
8. "On the Shores"