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Former Emperor mainman Isahn comes back with another stunning display of intricately crafted extreme metal on his second solo affair, the nine-track ANGL. This forward-thinking presentation unleashes a exorbent metallic assault whose unwavering savagery is never affected by the album's willingness to put experimentation to the test. Bursting through the darkest paths of underground metal with a bevy of sharpened black metal riffs, an orchestrative ear and the malevolence needed to summon the evil cuts like "Monolith" and "Minanthrope" call for, this well-manicured metallic attack retains its corpsepainted cred by combining skull-bashing interludes with other influences from the darker end of the genre, resulting in multi-textured metal fury of the highest order. Isahn more than holds his own on this stellar release on both guitars and vocals, rendering the perfect blend of misanthropy and misunderstanding on cuts like "Threnody" and "Emancipation", even going as far as to tap Opeth's very own Mikael Akerfeldt for a tremendous guest vocal slot on the standout track "Unhealer". Isahn's unique melding of diabolical sophistication, boundless composition and unrequitted hate make ANGL an essential listening experience full of well manicured rage.
- Mike SOS