Ihsahn
Ihsahn


5.0
classic

Review

by InfernalDeity CONTRIBUTOR (38 Reviews)
March 1st, 2024 | 39 replies


Release Date: 02/16/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Incomprehensible Depth

Growth. Growth is the consequential product of adverse stimuli brewing in the all-encompassing hands of Father Time. Our experiences, our struggles, and our aspirations that never came to fruition, all force us to look into the mirror and ask ourselves why. Why did we miss the mark, and where do we go from here? Growth often necessitates a divergence from that which is comfortable and familiar. Ihsahn, the legendary frontman and founding member of black metal's darling child Emperor, understands this well. Rather than resting on his laurels and putting out material that tried to capture the energy of landmark records such as In The Nightside Eclipse and Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, Ihsahn surrendered his achievements to the chronicles of metal history and ventured onto new paths, choosing adventure over certainty. Ihsahn's solo work is consistent for the most part. Records such as The Adversary, Arktis, and Amr, were met with critical acclaim and a general consensus amongst his fans that Ihsahn would retain his status as a stalwart in the experimental metal community.

While I do thoroughly enjoy the aforementioned releases, I must admit that they never captivated me to the same degree as his work with Emperor. Admittedly, I have resigned myself to the idea that Ihsahn will never be able to capture the magic of early Emperor. Fortunately, he proved me wrong. This self-titled release is his magnum opus. This record does not sound like Nightside Eclipse or Anthems, it is far more experimental and poignant. The songwriting here is a case study on growth and restraint. Tracks like Blood Trails to Love exhibit progressive flair along with the gothic ambiance of an orchestra hijacked by ill-intending spirits. Hubris and Blue Devils is aggressive and beautiful with staccato strings and smart percussion. I try to refrain from directing listeners to consume their music by a certain medium, but this album truly shines on headphones and you would be remiss to disregard this record after playing it in your car stereo. The intricacies are on full display thanks to the masterful production, but do require an intentful ear. Hubris and Blue Devils has more layers than the annual rings of a redwood tree. Whether it be horns, strings, synths, or drums, they all have their designated mantles. Ihsahn has transcended the moniker of a legendary experimental metal artist and safely dons the accolade of a skilled composer. The sheer amount of focus contained in this release is second to none.

An attempt to capture the weight of this record in a review is futile. I truly cannot convey the sentiments this album evokes without simply directing you to the album itself. The closest example I can think of is drifting in the depths of sea. If you have ever gone deep sea fishing and jumped into the water, you truly appreciate how minuscule you are in the vastness of the sea. A few years ago, I went deep-sea fishing with my uncle. The depth was about 800 feet more or less. When I was in the water, it felt as if the whole world was beneath me and I was tethered to nothing. That is what this record feels like. Ihsahn creates a universe that is entirely his own and it is nothing short of glorious.

Self-titled albums are the equivalent of a mic drop or Tiger Wood's no-look putt. If an artist releases a self-titled record and it doesn't live up to the hype, it's a permanent embarrassing stain on their discography. Ihsahn didn't just live up to the hype, he set a new standard. I am beyond excited to discuss this record with you all, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. Again, this is not a traditional black metal release and falls squarely into the experimental side of metal. Nevertheless, with respect to songwriting, I hold this album with the same esteem as his classic work with Emperor.



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user ratings (150)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
pizzamachine
March 1st 2024


26988 Comments


This is pretty interesting

Hawks
March 1st 2024


86681 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing review for an amazing album. Def my fav that I've heard from Ihsahn so far. M///

Koris
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2024


21096 Comments


Great review! Admittedly I haven't kept up with Ihsahn's most recent stuff, although I'm a big fan of his first few solo records. I'll give this a listen soon

Trifolium
March 1st 2024


38829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's soooooooo good agreed ID. Nice review and I'm glad this album has a place where we can go "STILL LOVE THIS" all the time from now on!!!

DungeonBoy
March 1st 2024


9692 Comments


This is very high up on my list of albums to check

Scheumke
March 1st 2024


2621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Record is sooo concise and every piece of every song feels super deliberate and serving a function. Def his best along with Arktis, so many highlights in here.

bellovddd
March 1st 2024


5661 Comments


gunna have to jam this very soon. haven't jammed Ihsahn in a very long time

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
March 1st 2024


596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you all for the kind words. Album is my AOTY contender for sure

Muzz79
March 1st 2024


3013 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice a 5. It’s good but I haven’t yet given it the requisite listens to fully appreciate

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
March 1st 2024


596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, there's a lot going on here. If you could sit in a quiet area with some headphones and really pay attention to what's going on it would be extremely rewarding. No guarantee that your rating will change, but this one legitimately blew my mind.

wildinferno2010
March 1st 2024


1874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album. I'm glad there's finally a review

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2024


1508 Comments


This sounds crazy, nice work

Hawks
March 2nd 2024


86681 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm glad there's finally a review [2]

botb
March 2nd 2024


17745 Comments


I respect what I heard from a creative artistic perspective. It kinda sounds like if extreme metal mixed with musical theater to me. It was, however, definitely not my bag

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2024


596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Totally fair. I feel that way about the Chelsea Wolfe release. Everybody has their preferences which is why sites like this exist to begin with

Veldin
March 2nd 2024


5237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent review! Absolutely love this album

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2024


596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Veldin, album rips

Frost15
March 2nd 2024


2700 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Second best Ihsahn, agreed

Beardog
March 2nd 2024


5148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah record is really good, I think it will only get better with repeated listens.

Trifolium
March 2nd 2024


38829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fifth place or so at the moment, still love the After-Eremita-Seelenbrechen-Arktis stretch the most. But this still rules.



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