(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Ihsahn.)
A certain friend of mine (who will remain nameless) has an almost pathological obsession with pointing out the various points of intersection and cross-pollination between Metal and Pop music, to the extent where it sometimes feels he’s seeing what he wants to see, and not necessarily what’s actually there. Still, he must be having a field day with Ihsahn’s new album Arktis., as it’s easily the most gleamingly melodic, intimately accessible… and, yes, poppy, album that the ever-adversarial artiste has put his name to thus far.
Despite this distinction, however, it’s also possible to see this album as something of a return to form following the somewhat uneven nature of both Eremita and Das Seelenbrechen, both albums which the man himself characterised as being more of a musical diversion than a continuation of the main creative thrust of his solo work.
Though both albums definitely had their charms (and, in hindsight, Eremita quite clearly served as a testing-ground for some of the more overtly poppy ideas and influences which permeate this release – you only need to look at Prog-Pop anthem “Frail” for evidence of that) it’s clear in a number of ways – from the structuring of the songs to the return to the established naming convention (The Adversary, Angl, After, Artkis.) – that album number six is a step back onto the right path.
Sometime soon we might roll out a list of our most anticipated releases scheduled to occur in the early part of 2016, or at least ask you to tell us yours. If we make a list, the new album by Ihsahn will be on it. Its name is Arktis, and Candlelight Records will release it on March 4. Today the first advance track from the album — “Mass Darkness” — became available for streaming. Before we get to that, here are a few more enticing pieces of info about the album:
It will include ten songs and it will feature guest appearances by Einar Solberg (Leprous), Matt Heafy (Trivium), Jorgen Munkeby (Shining), Tobias Ornes Andersen (Shining, ex-Leprous), and Norwegian author Hans Herbjornsrud. The graphic elements were created by Spanish designer Ritxi Ostariz. Here’s a statement by Ihsahn about the album:
Ihsahn’s fifth solo album, Das Seelenbrechen, will be released by Candlelight Records on October 22 in North America. It can be pre-ordered here. Last week a song from the album named “Hiber” was made available for listening on Soundcloud, and today we get the chance to hear another one. Entitled “NaCL”, it’s streaming as a lyric video and it’s available for purchase on iTunes (here, for US fans).
NaCL is the chemical notation for sodium chloride, otherwise known as salt. Whereas “Hiber” was heavy, dark, and occasionally dissonant, on “NaCL”, Ihsahn indulges the more purely progressive side of his solo explorations. It’s anchored by a punchy, complex, and ridiculously compulsive rhythm over which Ihsahn weaves a memorable melody. All clean vocals this time, but they sound great.
Ihsahn’s fifth solo album, Das Seelenbrechen, will be released by Candlelight Records on October 22 in North America. It can be pre-ordered here. Last month a song from the album named “Hiber” debuted on a BBC radio show. It was available at the station’s on-line site for a week. Today Candlelight made “Hiber” available for listening at Soundcloud.
“Hiber” is how the name is shown on Candlelight and Ihsahn’s Facebook pages and on the Soundcloud stream. However, previous press releases announcing the album’s track list spell it “Hilber”. A rose by any other name . . .
I’ve already raved about the song. I’ll rave about it again: It swirls and it stomps, it echoes and it pounds, the guitar spirals around complex rhythms, a string section takes wing, and Ihsahn claws with his voice (no clean singing on this one, thank you very much). It’s dark, disconcerting, and occasionally dissonant, but it will also stick with you. Imaginative, heavy music.
If you missed it when it was on the radio, have a listen now:
Here are a some things I’d like to recommend from my reading and listening last night.
On Monday night of this week, a new song from Ihsahn premiered on BBC Radio 1’s “Rock Show” with Daniel P. Carter. The song is “Hilber” and it will appear on Ihsahn’s fifth solo album, Das Seelenbrechen, which will be released on October 21 in North America via Candlelight Records. Fortunately, the program will remain available for streaming for the next seven days at BBC.co.uk, and you can use that link to hear it (just skip to the 21:45 mark on the player you’ll find there).
Also, for now at least, it’s been uploaded to YouTube (I’m shocked, I tell you, simply shocked!) and so you can also listen right here, after the jump.
Man, I do like this song. It swirls and it stomps, it echoes and it pounds, the guitar spirals around complex rhythms, a string section takes wing, and Ihsahn claws with his voice (no clean singing on this one, thank you very much). It’s dark, disconcerting, and occasionally dissonant, but it will also stick with you. Imaginative music. You should hear it.
Well, holy shit, this is some news. This morning an Ihsahn meet-and-great at Wacken Open Air turned into an Emperor meet-and-greet. Wacken’s organizers converted the session into a press conference at which they announced that Emperor will be re-uniting to headline the 25th anniversary Wacken Open Air, which will be held from July 31-August 2, 2014 (at Wacken, Germany, of course.
According to this report, Ihsahn and Samoth were both present at the press conference and answered questions about the band’s reunion dates in 2014 as well as the possibilities of a new album (!!!). I’m still hunting for details about what was said on those subjects, and I’ll update this when I learn more.
Emperor played played Wacken in 2006 and last performed together in 2007 at festivals in France and Finland. Their last album was Prometheus – The Discipline Of Fire And Demise, released in 2001.
Welcome to Part 15 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three I’m announcing today, click here.
After a 10-day hiatus, I’m resuming the roll-out of this list. I’ve identified 29 songs so far, with X left to go — “X” standing for a number that will be revealed to me once I figure out what else to pick from my still-lengthy list of candidates.
I’ve grouped together today’s three songs because they represent the use of black metal musical elements in songs that have only a distant kinship to the music of the first and second waves. They represent a branching out of black metal that has enriched the traditions and given them new life, even if these new blooms have opened far from the roots.
Andy Synn reviewed this iconic band’s 2012 album RIITIIR for us here, showering it with praise, and it has appeared on many of our 2012 year-end lists. Guest writer Fredrik Huldtgren of the Swedish band Canopy summed it up as follows in naming it to his list:
(Andy Synn follows his review of the new Gojira yesterday with this assessment of Ihashn’s new work.)
Perspective, obviously, in writing/reviewing can be a very helpful thing. Where sometimes you do feel the urge to be “first to market” with your ideas and opinions, other times you may benefit from a wider, more considered view.
Case in point: I’m writing a review for the new Ihsahn, having read several other accounts and also having discussed the album with a variety of friends and well-wishers. Though I had already formed my own opinions on the album, I had an urge to get out there and see what others thought, wanting to know if their agreement/disagreement with my opinion had the potential to give me any sort of enlightenment about the record in a greater context than just my own listening.
What I found was interesting – almost to a man, the trend was that those who felt After was a masterpiece were underwhelmed by this album, and those who fell in love with this album were, by and large, those who were unable to connect with After. So either way, this is going to be a divisive album.
This is just a quick news flash:
Our friends at Metal Sucks today began exclusively streaming the entirety of Reign Supreme, the new album from Dying Fetus that will be officially released tomorrow. Follow this link to hear it. You’ll be glad you did.
Also today, AOL Music began streaming Eremita, the new album from Ihsahn. I found out about this from Metal Sucks as well. As Anso DF correctly notes in his brief notice, AOL Music really does have this legend appearing below the album cover for Eremita: “Sounds Like: Daughtry, Metallica”. No shit. It would be fun to see the reactions of Daughtry and Metallica fans to this album.
On second thought, no it wouldn’t.
Anyway, you can (and should) hear the Eremita stream at this location.
That is all.
Ihsahn’s fourth solo album, Eremita, is scheduled for release on June 19. Almost a month ago, I received from Candlelight Records a link that allows me to stream the album, but not download it. I know the label isn’t singling me out or implying that NCS is untrustworthy, but I have a hard time listening to an album when I have to be tethered to my computer to do it. I’m constantly moving between safe houses, and so I need to be able to listen on my music player. Consequently, I still haven’t heard Eremita.
But I’m no less interested in the album, in part because it’s Ihsahn and in part because of the line-up of guest artists: drummer Tobias Ornes Andersen (Leprous), saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby (Shining – Norway), guitarist Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), and vocalists Devin Townsend, Einar Solberg (Leprous), and Heidi S. Tveitan (Star of Ash).
Yesterday, Guitar World began streaming a song from the album called “Introspection”, which features guest vocals by Devin Townsend. I heard it for the first time through that stream (see above re moving between safe houses). I have mixed feelings about the song.