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Now almost entirely focused on his solo material after finishing up with Peccatum in 2006, After is Ihsahn's third post-Emperor release, and delivers more of the same gradiosity and variation present on the first two discs. Although it is much more experimental than angL, and arguably less accessible, it's still unmistakable as an Ihsahn solo record. Strong elements of Slipknot dominate A Grave Inversed, which is the track with the least class here, and just like on his previous two solo albums, the disc truly shines with tracks like The Barren Lands, the title track, Austere and Frozen Lakes On Mars, where Ihsahn combines the influences of his former life fronting Emperor with the delicate, melodic and progressive elements of bands like Opeth and Katatonia. On the heavier side Heaven's Black Sea and ten-minute epic Undercurrent are far superior to A Grave Inversed, with a lot more direction changes and far more appealing riffs, and a second closing ten-minute piece combines everything heard on the previous seven tracks, with the delicacy, the brutality and the brass (used to great effect on Heaven's Black Sea and the very end of Undercurrent, and to less great effect on A Grave Inversed) sweeping back and forth. Basically, skip A Grave Inversed and you've got an album that's perfect for fans of Ihsahn's other two discs, Opeth, and Katatonia.
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