Oct 032013

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: Continue reading »

Sep 112013

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. Continue reading »

Aug 022013

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. Continue reading »

Jan 242013

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 Continue reading »

Jun 272012

(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. Continue reading »

Jun 182012

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.

May 302012

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. Continue reading »

Apr 042012

Well, fuck me blind. It’s just going to be one of those days when every time I glance at my internet feeds I’m going to see something I must post about. It’s not even 10 a.m. here in the grey Pacific Northwest and we’re up to five posts. You can imagine the extent of not-working at my day job that’s going on. But priorities must be observed, and the priorities at the moment are Ihsahn and Nervecell.


Candlelight Records have announced June 19 as the North American release date for Eremita (Latin for hermit), the fourth album from Norway’s Ihsahn, who should need no introduction.

Ihsahn alone would be worth attention, but on the new album there will be many notable guest appearances. The album will include performances by 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). The album artwork was created by Spanish designer Ritxi Ostariz, and you can see the cover after the jump.

Eremita will be available on standard CD and a limited edition deluxe digibook (featuring an exclusive bonus track).

But in addition to all that juicy news, Candlelight has also released today a teaser video with snippets from a few of the songs on Eremita. Among other things, it includes blast beats and harsh vocals, which makes me happy. But frankly, everything I hear on this teaser reel makes me happy. It’s right after the jump. Continue reading »

Nov 102011

(NCS writer Andy Synn reviews the new album from Norway’s Leprous.)

Ok, I originally had a longer and more traditionally deconstructive review written up for this. But while re-listening to the album for about the fifth consecutive time, I realised nothing I was writing was really getting to the heart of this utterly genius, utterly addictive gem of an album.

Who/what does it sound like? Well there are elements of Porcupine Tree’s depressive progressive excursions and Devin Townsend’s ambitious mutant pop melodies, along with the bombast of Queen and the precociousness of early Dream Theatre to boot. Similarities to Ihsahn’s solo work of course abound, Leprous being the backing band he employs to give life to his beautiful and barren soundscapes in the live setting (the band also features his youngest brother-in-law, fact fans) as do comparisons with the off-kilter force of sadly departed esoteric metallers Oceans Of Sadness. Yet that’s not all.

There’s the unhinged madness of Sigh, the introverted progressive might of Into Eternity, a throwback 70’s haze that recalls Opeth’s more self-indulgent moments, a cock-sure strut that can only stem from the over-the-top 80’s output of Queensryche, the meandering and sleep-walking structures of latter-day Cynic, the unashamed, operatic excesses of Muse, the singular power of Enslaved, the madcap mentality of Arcturus… my god, it’s like an unholy amalgamation of everything vibrant and progressive from the last several decades, mixed up and spat out in this narcissistically beautiful, yet vaguely unnerving form. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Apr 132011

Take a look at that flyer up above for ProgPower XII, the latest installment of the long-running prog- and power-metal festival held in Atlanta. Now let your eyes drift over to the upper left-hand corner and find the logo for a band called Arcturus. Now, mentally cross out that name and put a different name in its place: Ihsahn.

It’s true — Arcturus is out and Ihsahn is in — as in, yes, the former Emperor frontman will be making his first live stage appearance in the U.S. I’m not a huge Ihsahn fan, but I know many of you are, and this definitely qualifies as news that’s worthy of note.

The story about how Ihsahn was added to this festival is also damned funny.  It starts with the bizarre statement by Arcturus (who I’ve never heard of, to be honest) “explaining” the cancelation of their appearance and ends with the promoter’s blunt-but-hilarious comment about Arcturus jumping ship. I think it’s safe to say that in the eyes of most metalheads, he got himself a big upgrade.  Read both statements after the jump. Continue reading »