Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ihsahn : "Das Seelenbrechen"

Having heard the former Emperor main-man ( or is that former since they are re-uniting next summer) wanted to break away from his other solo work and go in a more improvisational and experimental direction, made me afraid it would be something like a cross between John Zorn and the last Ulver album. Fortunately, while there are noisy experimental sections, it is pretty orchestrated and well written, even more grandiose and progressive in some songs like "Regen" which starts off with a piano part where the vocal glide over them not unlike Opeth and it builds into a heavier more Emperor like crescendo.

The opener  reminds me of "Red" era King Crimson mixed with "Prometheus " Emperor. It's majestic in it's syncopation and a powerful way to get things started, calming my fears that is album would be ambient noise...though that will come.

Ihsahn has been tremendously underrated, I think songs like "NaCi" show is capable of pulling off prog more stunning and interesting than anything Porcupine Tree or Dream Theater is doing these days, with chops to match either band. The Zeppelin like syncopation gives way to melodies even more soaring than his previous solo albums.

There is an electronica feel to "Pulse" that's not too far removed from some of the dabbling Porcupine Tree has done in that area as well. It's not Nine Inch Nails or Massive Attack, by any means , though more in common with the latter. The smooth melody is well written and this might be almost to close to mainstream sounding for the Emperor fans who found his earlier work to almost too un-kvlt enough to stomach.

The looser more noise based excursions begin on " Tacit 2" which is a pretty abrasive swirl of rolling drums that he screams over. The drums never develop into a beat of any kind and leave you waiting for the other shoe to drop. It is like an intro to a song that never happens. "Tacit" is straight forward...for Ihsahn's solo work as it a balance of melody and dissonance. The middle section rings out with ambiance before building into the sort of majestic metal he is known for.

"Rec" floats in before building into Devin Towensend like prog, while "M" isn't an anchored in it's ambiance until a very Pink Floyd like guitar solo kicks in.This is some of the album's best guitar work and is tasteful in showing it's chops. I can see where the more abstract approach is taken, "Sub Alter" is allowed to take form of a feeling more than a song when the vocals begin to haunt the guitars.This is enough to draw you in. "See" closes the album with industrial noise that is more of an extended outro rather than a song unto it's self. I will give this album a 9.5 as the experimental interluded aside which won't make it onto my iPod, the other material holds up well with his legacy and makes for a moodier but no less intriguing listen,      


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