Ihsahn
Arktis.


4.5
superb

Review

by Chamberbelain USER (157 Reviews)
April 8th, 2016 | 204 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Oh, just another stunning release from metal's most versatile frontman.

Now overtaking the time-frame between conception and disbandment of his black metal band, Emperor, Ihsahn’s solo group have risen from the embers of Emperor to form a band that can blend elegancy and bleakness like no other. Though everyone is swayed towards albums like ”In The Nightside Eclipse” whenever they hear Ihsahn’s name, to understand his true temperament would be more effective listening to the span his solo act.

Beginning with integrating classical music with black metal then advancing further to more progressive realms, his belief of individualism and personal growth only strengthened his attitude towards the variation of musical styles that he incorporates into these records. 2013’s “Das Seelenbrechen” seemed like the final stage of evolution. It was an utterly bizarre (yet satisfying) composition which mainly orbited around atmosphere rather than melodies like all of his past work. Now that Ihsahn can see the scope of his experiments, his sixth album “Arktis.” sounds like a concoction of all his past ideas united as one vision.

That vision is to transport us to realms of discomfort. This is a place where conditions are totally unpredictable and arrive unexpectedly. ‘South Winds’ exemplifies this erratic mood unlike any other on the album. There’s electronica, hissing vocals and groovy metal but the multitude of genres displayed in this song are so fantastically contradictory to one another that it shouldn’t work, yet strangely, the dynamism between each transition just seems right. The feeling of discomfort that “Arkis.” portrays doesn’t just come from is unpredictability though. ‘In The Vaults’ takes us to cold northern scenes where delicate melodies and tender lyrics are the only companion in this vast soundscape.

If you can say that Ihsahn has ‘a typical sound’, then “Arktis.” does continue to practice it yet each song still holds its own personal identity. Riff driven songs that make his music so catchy include ‘Disassembled’, a gambolling “My Heart Is Of The North”-which strangely sounds like Ghost, the rock n roll infested ‘Until I Too Dissolve’ and the relentless ‘Pressure’ which ends up exploding in on itself in a storm of uncontained wrath.

Ihsahn’s traditional rasps also resonate around the expertly executed instrumental elements which are only increased by the guest appearances that feature on “Arktis.” Ihsahn and Einar Solberg (Leprous) alternate between desperation and anguish in the emotionally captivating ‘Celestial Violence’ and Matt Heafy (Trivium) lends his lungs in the chorus to the schizophrenic ‘Mass Darkness’ that consequently creates one of the biggest vocal hooks on the album. Although not singing, Jørgen Munkeby (Shining [NOR]) makes a luxurious saxophone entrance to ‘Crooked Red Line’ that melts the ice from your still heart when the notes are coupled with Ihsahn’s clean vocals.

Ihsahn has offered us a well produced album that is a creative work of art when absorbed fully but since there are no filler songs on “Arktis.”, you could easily pick out specific tracks which are wild, sensitive or just damn catchy on their own.



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user ratings (294)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
MilkSteak (4.5)
No longer “that guy from Emperor”, Ihsahn’s latest release is a fantastic work that transition...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ChoccyPhilly
April 8th 2016


11667 Comments


Great review, definitely makes me want to check this out
Pos

Digging: Thantifaxath - Void Masquerading as Matter

lalchimiste
April 8th 2016


704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the singles released were amazing and hinted that it could be his best solo release so far.

Digging: Desolate Shrine - Deliverance From The Godless Void

Keyblade
April 8th 2016


24993 Comments


man, this is his 3rd album since After. where does the time go

Digging: Summoning - With Doom We Come

zaruyache
April 8th 2016


17903 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

added to the spotify todo list

emester
April 8th 2016


8181 Comments


probably his most palatable solo release, but Eremita and After still know this out of the park

ExhaleTheLight
April 8th 2016


246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Celestial Violence is jaw dropping!

Essence
April 8th 2016


5836 Comments


Excited to hear this, love me Ihsahn

Flugmorph
April 8th 2016


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

looking forward to hear this now thanks to your review.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Essence
April 8th 2016


5836 Comments


it's gooooooood

FrozenVain
April 8th 2016


2955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rules. 4.3 from me. Great review! Pos'd.

RustCohle
April 8th 2016


193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

a few more spins and this is a 5

Digging: Amenra - Mass VI

Hellscythe
April 8th 2016


2094 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is fantastic. gonna have to make checking out his back catalog more of a priority, AngL's the only thing I've heard besides this.

Digging: Hanging Garden - I Am Become

Beardog
April 9th 2016


1600 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The two singles were pretty great, damn there's so much new music to check out... And there's even more coming

Totengott
April 9th 2016


4130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't wait to listen to the entire album.



Pos for the great review.

Tunaboy45
April 9th 2016


15609 Comments


Ihsahn, the man the myth the legend.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

someguest
April 9th 2016


28859 Comments


Here we go!

Digging: Carpenter Brut - CARPENTERBRUTLIVE

Tunaboy45
April 9th 2016


15609 Comments


I can't believe this is his sixth already.

someguest
April 9th 2016


28859 Comments


The opener rules.

someguest
April 9th 2016


28859 Comments


Goddamn, this is album of the year material.

Tunaboy45
April 9th 2016


15609 Comments


Gonna jam this soon, what a great month this has been for music.



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