Ihsahn -- Ámr


★★★☆ This is a subtler work from Ihsahn (which is funny, because the album starts out with this huge-ass synth patch that sounds anything but subtle). The epic power comes from the impeccable arrangements and production, featuring the lushest strings I’ve heard in metal in a long time. The songwriting is a bit “safer” than that on “Arktis,” but Ihsahn still delivers solid doubles throughout, if not actual home runs.

Ihsahn -- Arktis


★★★★ This is more like it! The album reaffirms the role of its predecessor, Das Seelenbrechen, as a lateral digression, and is more of an logical and spiritual successor to Eremita… but Arktis blows it away in its scope, ambition, and effectiveness. I could mention the handful of notable guest musicians on this record, but the real star here is the varied approaches to songwriting.

Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen

IhsahnDas Seelenbrechen

★★☆☆ The entire album features Ihsahn at his most cinematic. This is both a testament to one of the most inventive and prolific musicians in metal today… and a big problem for the listener. Every track sounds like it’s excerpted from somewhere in the middle of a soundtrack. There are no real starts or finishes here, so the whole thing is more comparable to Fantomas than any concept album, or anything else that Ihsahn has done post-Emperor.