Welcome to the LOUDEST DOT COM ON THE PLANET!
KNAC.COM
LISTEN NOW!WATCH NOW! LOGIN JOIN
MAGAZINEON-AIRDOWNLOADSCHATBOARDSCONTESTSSTORE
Reviews

IHSAHN Arktis

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Thursday, April 7, 2016 @ 4:22 PM


- advertisement -
IHSAHN
Arktis

Candlelight Music




Always the chameleon, ex-EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn follows up one of the most experimental and abstract albums of his solo career – 2013's Das Seelenbrechen – with one of his most accessible. His sixth solo outing, Arktis harks back to his solo debut in 2006, The Adversary, which blended progressive and classic/power metal with fits of melodic black metal that was not too far removed from EMPEROR’s swan-song Prometheus.

But where The Adversary seemed scattershot, even disjointed, going this way and that with sometimes jarring transitions, Arktis is more centered, offering the finesse and nuance Ihsahn has honed over his subsequent, and always divergent, releases. And where Das Seelenbrechen was built around improvisation and had a wide-ranging, unstructured sound, Arktis is remarkably “songy” and relatable.

That doesn't mean it still won't challenge the listener. “Disassembled” gets things started by contrasting Ihsahn's ominously hushed growl with winsome guitar strains, soaring choruses and clean vocal accompaniment by frequent guest Einar Solberg of LEPROUS – who also happens to be his brother-in-law. Solberg returns for the album's stirring finale “Celestial Violence”.

“My Heart Is In The North” and its apparent counterpart “South Winds” bring ample keyboards and electronics into play. The organ peels on “North” give it the sort of classic rock vibe OPETH has been aiming for of late while “South Winds” is almost techno-fied with its bubbly synths and a throbbing electronic rhythm that is downright hypnotic. “Frail” repeats this to a degree later on, though with a shuffling drum beat from SHINING's Tobias Ornes Andersen and some added guitar muscle.

“Until I Too Dissolve”, on the other hand, is a straight up, though moody, hard rocker with shimmering licks that sound like something out of Bark At The Moon-era Ozzy, while “Mass Darkness” opens with JUDAS PRIEST-like guitar harmonies that descend into almost djenty droning riffs before taking off on a speed metal sprint with TRIVIUM's Matt Heafy joining in on vocals for the anthemic choruses. The epic “Pressure” offers a mid-song burst from Ihsahn's own past with its symphonic black metal flourish. For a few fleeting moments, it’s like In The Nightside Eclipse all over again. Awesome.

Flipping the script, the initially stark, ballad-like “Into The Vaults” jockeys between piano and synths at the outset before the crashing guitars and vocal harmonies – which in this case are all Ihsahn - build in and bring it to a rousing crescendo. “Crooked Red Line” sandwiches jazzy forays from SHINING frontman Jorgen Munkeby's smoky sax wail around its decidedly metallic center.

So there is plenty to digest on Arktis. But with its well-crafted and ably executed songs – which smooth out The Adversary's rough patches and erratic turns - it's also remarkably easy to digest, certainly moreso than the deliberately difficult Das Seelenbrechen. And after pushing the envelope so far last time out, it’s good to hear Ihsahn opting for a more traditional direction with Arktis this time around instead of going even farther afield. It’s one thing to be idiosyncratic and unpredictable, it’s another to wander up one’s own ass in the name of experimentation or creative indulgence. And as gifted a songwriter and performer as he is, Ihsahn thankfully knows the difference.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

Grab your copy of Arktis in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


Please log in to view RANTS

If you don't have a username, click here to create an account!

Username: 
Password: 

Message: 
 
 

 





 Recent Reviews
SCORPIONS, QUEENSRYCHE In Tampa, FL With Photos!
HUMBLE PIE Live At The Ottawa CityFolk Festival
BEHEMOTH Album Listening Party In Los Angeles For I Loved You At Your Darkest
THE DEAD DAISIES, HOOKERS 'N BLOW In Ottawa, Canada With Photos!
DRAGONLORD Dominion
STONE BROKEN Ain't Always Easy
BRANT BJORK Mankind Woman
KORPIKLAANI Kulkija
BRAINSTORM Midnight Ghost
SLEAZY WAY OUT, INSUFFICIENT FUNDS In Ottawa, Canada
DEEP PURPLE, JUDAS PRIEST In Jacksonville, FL W/Photos!
HELLOWEEN In Worcester, MA With Photos!
RED TIGER Evolution
ALTER BRIDGE Live At The Royal Albert Hall Featuring The Parrallax Orchestra
CLUTCH Book Of Bad Decisions
ANGRA In Winter Park, FL With Photos!
TALES FROM THE PORN H.M.M.V.
CARRY THE STORM i/E
PIG DESTROYER Head Cage
SAXON Strong Arm Of The Law Reissue
THE DEAD DAISIES In Houston, TX Photo Gallery
ALICE IN CHAINS, BUSH, THE CULT, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS In Ridgefield, WA W/Photos!
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES STill Cyco Punk After All These Years
OPERATION:MINDCRIME, TILL DEATH DO US PART In Portland, OR With Photos!
TNT XIII
DC4 Atomic Highway
CAL JAM '18 POP UP In Los Angeles With Photos!
SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, ANNTHRAX, TESTAMENT And NAPALM DEATH In Ridgefield, WA With Photos!
JIZZY PEARL OF LOVE/HATE All You Need Is Soul
NIGHT DEMON Live Darkness
RAVENSCROFT Rebel
NASHVILLE PUSSY Pleased To Eat You
QUIET RIOT In Houston Photo Gallery
WARRANT, STEELHEART In Houston Photo Gallery
INKCARCERATION FESTIVAL Photo Gallery 2
INKCARCERATION FESTIVAL Photo Gallery 1





HOME | MAGAZINE | ON-AIR | DOWNLOADS | CHAT | BOARDS | CONTESTS | STORE | HELP

©2018 KNAC.COM. All Rights Reserved.    Link to us    Advertise with us    Privacy policy
 Latest News