Tuesday 12 November 2013

Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen (Album Review)

Album Type :  Full Length
Date Released : 21/10/2013
Label : Candlelight Records

Das Seelenbrechen, album track listing :

1. ‘Hilber’ 05:12
2. ‘Regen’ 5:03
3. ‘NaCl’ 04:24
4. ‘Pulse’ 04:53
5. ‘Tacit 2
6. ‘Tacit’ 04:36
7. ‘Rec’ 02:26
8. ‘M’ 04:39
9. ‘Su
b Alter 05:15’
10. ‘See’ 07:29
The Band :

Ihsahn | Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Tobias Ørnes Andersen | Drums
Ihriel | Vocal (Choir)

Review :
“Listen without prejudice and expect to be taken on a bewildering journey through the outer limits of heaviness.”

That is what the album’s advert asks of you, a spread which has been plastered across countless heavy music magazines in the build up to its release. It is a powerfully honest statement that strips away any contributing image and reputation factors, which can so often encroach on a listeners experience, leaving that to the music and nothing but. When you do just that, when you peel away everything, leaving its sole core, you are left with something truly special.    

The ambitious vision and by-product of an evil genius, Das Seelenbrechen sees Ihsahn’s split-personality syndrome at its creative summit. Having released a full-length record everyone two years since 2006’s The Adversary, Das Seelenbrechen is his second release in two years, signalling a gushing flow of creative juices. At times raging and ferocious, at times delicate and emotive, Das Seelenbrechen is always staggeringly brilliant.  

Moments of upmost grandiose on tracks like Hiber and Regen grab you by the throat and make you pay your undivided attention thanks to the sheer presence of them. Yet M and Pulse bring out his softer side with weeping guitar and tingling piano respectively.

It is a record of cinematic proportions. When it’s not providing the soundtrack to a cold, suspense thriller on album closers Sub Alter and See it is hits with a barrage of apocalyptic noise on Tacit 2. The latter in fact has moments where, amid a rampage of drums and demonic, hoarse growls, a distinct beat is barely distinguishable. Where with many artists you’d be left to lament the work, writing it off as mere noise, Ihsahn has a ridiculously commendable ability to make it utterly captivating and horrifyingly addictive.

His sense of space, where quiet interludes weave seamlessly in and out of the heaviness, is no better capsulated than on NaCI. Led by a driving riff and a swaggering groove, it is a stunning piece of metal. Harmonies are utilized at the perfect moments while calm passages fight for prominence against a backdrop of down-tuned guitars. Like the record on a whole it takes you on a journey. By the time the last few seconds of stuttering feedback subside, you feel you have been somewhere almost otherworldly.

While some of his adoring Emperor fans may not appreciate him straying into other, more melodic realms, you cannot help but applaud his versatility and imagination as a musician.

View this as you would a piece of art and find yourself marvelling at its beauty, rather than its brutality. 

Words by : Phil Weller

You can buy it everywhere now


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