Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen (2013)
Review by Trevor Proctor
Mention Ihsahn and most people automatically think “Emperor,” even more so recently with a number of high profile Emperor dates announced for next summer, during which they will play the legendary album “In the Nightside Eclipse” in its entirety. With Ihsahn’s solo output now outnumbering Emperor (studio) albums by five to four I feel it’s well overdue that people start to identify with Ihsahn as much as a solo artist as of that with Emperor. A musician from the age of 7 Ihsahn is an extremely talented musician and uses this album to further showcase his musical ability and prowess.
Released only a year after the stunningly brilliant “Eremita” Das Seelenbrechen sees Ihsahn chart and explore unknown and unfamiliar musical landscapes like never before. Ihsahn himself being quoted as saying it’s a “deliberate sidestep” and talks of “a necessity to reset the creative parameters not to fall into formula.” Granted, there are many elements similar to previous albums such as opener Hilber and the excellent Tacit, parts 1 and 2 but it’s the more off the wall tracks that instantly appealed to me the most.
Regen is one such track, it starts with a simple, gentle piano backing track accompanied by Ihsahn’s clean vocals, vocals so clean they show us that clearly his voice has further matured and improved since Eremita, not that I had any problem with his vocals previously. Halfway through orchestral grandeur kicks in and we see Ihsahn switch to singing powerful, strained vocals accompanied by a choir, this is a magnificent, bold track filled with raw emotion and power.
Pulse is a another track that starts off with a simple, yet catchy piano loop driven by soothing synths and again has very clean, extremely well sung vocals. Put simply this is an amazing, quiet, yet powerful and emotional track that could very easily be used within a movie soundtrack.
Another stand out track is “M” which begins with a space-age, synth beat, narrated over with a digitalised, ominous vocal before bursting into a sprawling, deeply progressive guitar solo reminiscent of Pink Floyd, and one that even Dave Gilmore would be proud of. This track shows off Ihsahn’s guitar skills to their full, showing impressive, progressive solos come easily to him.
Deep, but instantly likeable, different yet astounding this isn’t a record you need several listens to fully appreciate, from start to finish it grips and stuns you as Ihsahn moves from style to style with ease. Composer, multitalented musician, producer and vocalist, is there any limitation to this man’s musical progression? Ihsahn’s ability and talent seem to have no bounds, nor does his willingness to experiment musically, let’s hope it’s only another year to his next solo release.
Das Seelenbrechen is available now and is released by Candlelight Records.