Ihsahn of the mighty Emperor has always had a sort of avant garde nature to him. His solo records are always slightly more than the average metal fan can chew, which I'm sure is something he takes pride in. I, as someone with the Emperor logo permanently emblazoned on my arm, have almost an obligation to try to take in anything made by those fine musicians. Here.........I'm still a little lost on the results.

Out of the gate this record shows a huge deal of promise. "Hilber" is just progressive enough to keep any metalhead with a discerning ear interested throughout. I immediately figured that if the rest of the record was like this, it'd quickly become a favorite. In a way, each song does follow a somewhat similar path, but with mixed results. Indeed, every song does have its own identity, but in such a way that there are 10 tracks here that are often so incongruous that the whole affair feels incomplete. Random genre jumping is of course a trademark of progressive music, but here I just can't feel it meshing together into one work. An entire album's worth of most of the songs on here would thrill me for days. This almost has the feel, however, of a compilation record put out by a label. Certain moments display this all too nakedly, such as the brilliant free form black metal of "Tacit 2" and "Tacit" butting up against the rather trite trip hop of "Pulse." To me it's kind of like asking a jazz fan to listen to "Ascension" by Coltrane, but only after they hear Moby's latest hit. It doesn't all add up is what I'm getting at.

Of course though, the moments that do shine through tug at my most sensitive heart strings. Ihsahn's patented scream is like oxygen to me, just like it was 15 years ago. The parts that remind me of Emperor bring back similar memories, and other parts where he just simply goes for broke, shredding, screaming and riffing instead of attempting anything too fancy. See the latter half of "Regen" for this. I also will fully admit to be a sucker for David Gilmour's guitar solos in later Pink Floyd works, a style that Ihsahn dedicates the entirety of "M" to. It is of course a little TOO closely aped, but I personally have no problem with it at all.

This is overall a halfway decent, if disjointed and piecemeal, record that any Emperor or progressive metal fan should at the very least give a shot.