Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen
Label: Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Álvaro Rodríguez Ortiz - 2013-11-06
Highlights: NaCl, Tacit
If you are into Extreme Metal (specially in Black Metal),you’ll now a legendary band called Emperor, and of course, his main head: Ihsahn. Well, in 2007 he decided to start a solo project. And if you look back in time, this project has evolved into the best music you can find nowadays in Extreme Metal with prog tendencies.
After the “A trilogy”, as the fans name it, Ihsahn gave us Eremita, and the fans were separated: the ones who loved the album, and the ones who hated it. To be honest, I’ve never clicked with it, it had a huge lack of musicianship - but it was still a good album. After some time touring with Leprous (those guys are his live band) all over the globe, he decided it was time to record some music. Violá!, "Das Seelenbrenchen" was in gestation.
If you compare this album with, let’s say, "After" (to mestill is his best album), you’ll find that both albums, even though they have the same core, they are really different. In the new album, the unique screams that only Ihsahn is able to sing are almost over. Also, the Black Metal blastbeats are gone. Instead, you get a really prog album. Not prog like Opeth did with Heritage, a 70s Prog-Rock-tribute, not at all, he’s trying to move his music to another path. And he sorta did it, even though the first listenings are a bit weird. Let me explain it: you wouldn’t expect a guy like Ihsahn, with his musical background adding electronic beats in his music, but if you watch his interviews on YouTube, you’ll find that Ihsahn barely listens to metalanymore. He said: “Nowadays I rather listen to Portishead, Massive Attack orrock bands like Radiohead instead metal."
This album has a huge variety of sounds. To be honest, it’s a mix of Avant-Garde with Prog Rock. It has some “Metal” moments, but most ofthe time is Ihsahn blasting your ass with really good riffin’, clean vocals (his clean vocals have been developed a lot if you look back in time), and some secret moments. You’ll hear a really fast and “classic” Ihsahn’s kind of song in Hilber, next to Avant Garde stuff like Pulse, or even Drone Metal (yes, SunnO))), for example) in Tacit 2, or in the last two songs of the album, next to a piano ballad, etc. If you are really open minded to anything when it comes to music, I’m sure you’ll find almost everything you want here.
I was expecting a good album as always if it’s made by one of my favorite Norwegian musicians ever, but I was a bit skeptical since Eremita didn’t clicked a lot in my head. But, bloody hell, I wasn’t expecting this. Ihsahn himself said that the next album was going to be different, but I wasn’t ready for this. This album has a huge variety of sounds, textures and genres mixed together. And what's the best thing for Ihsahn’s fans, you can hear and feel the musicanship of Ihsahn. He’s able to mix all these textures and make something that’s new, something else, and still saving his style and his signature moments.
"Das Seelenbrechen" is a highlight to me, and I wasn’t expecting this. If you are a fan of Prog music, you’ll find something else here. And if you are like "nope", because Ihsahn was a Black Metal musician, feel free to erase your prejudice, this is not Black Metal. You’ll be surprised, and I hope your ears will be more receptive to different kinds of music.
Have fun listening to this, and see you around!