Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (2013)


Being huge fans of Ihsahn, we finally made the pilgrimage this year to watch him play live at the Afterburner in the legendary Roadburn Festival. Having surrounded himself with the extremely talented musicians of Leprous as his ‘backing band’, he delivered quite an impressive performance by nailing almost all the songs with brilliant technical perfection. Anyways, on his latest release, “Das Seelenbrechen”, he pushes the envelope even further with a lot of experimentation and a few of his signature elements. If you are expecting another “After” or “Eremita”, you might find yourself scratching your head a bit with this one.

Enlisting Leprous drummer-extraordinaire Tobias Ørnes Andersen for this release, Ihsahn as always handled everything else. Things seem to open in a very traditional way with the beginning of “Hilber”, a seemingly straightforward track that starts getting crazy as the odd keyboards come up. While this track is quite engaging, the weirdness is still manageable for all fans of Ihsahn. “Regen” takes a turn for the dramatic with clean vocals and a very dark vibe. The ballad-esque opening nicely builds up to some very epic moments as the song progresses. This track is one of our favorite ones thanks to the brilliant mood progression and dramatic climax.

The proggy “NaCl” sounds bit more like a Leprous song than an Ihsahn song, but it still has some cool tempo changes that make it quite entertaining. Things start to get weirder with the trip hoppy “Pulse”, a song that we could totally picture Ulver and similar acts delivering but… Ihsahn?, quite a revelation indeed, and not bad at all. “Tacit 2” and “Tacit” are two tracks that we assume are meant to be enjoyed in order (not the way they are put on the CD since “Tacit 2” is track 6 and “Tacit” is track 7), anyways, once your start with the first song we have a somewhat familiar territory nicely contrasted by some brilliant drumming and weird atmospheric elements. The second part, “Tacit 2”, is just plain weird and completely crazy. It has some drone/noise vibe to it and feels very disruptive to the release, probably what Ihsahn was going for at this point in the album, but this is a pass for us.

“Rec” is another weird one that slowly builds up with some cool percussions and clean vocals, and while very uncharacteristic of anything he is ever done before, quite enjoyable to us. The same can be said about the ambient opening of “M”. This track nicely transforms into a jazzy guitar-lead experimental song that is quite delightful and very risqué. “Sub Alter” continues with the whole experimental and dark vibe that seems to be the underlying theme of this release, and with patience you will end up loving this track as well.

If you thought that you already heard all the weird in this release, you are wrong since “See” closes the album with a seven minute minimalist drone/noise piece that is just the cherry on top of this cake of unconventional weirdness. We are quite puzzled by many things in this release, but it is quite interesting and brave to hear Ihsahn expressing his ideas in a very different way. We quite enjoyed 88% of this release and we are sure that any fan of Ihsahn will find most tracks in this release quite enjoyable after a few spins. There is obviously a great contrast between “Das Seelenbrechen” and any of his previous releases, but the fact that he pulls this one off so graciously it’s a sign that Ihsahn is a true musical genius.

Band: Ihsahn Album: Das Seelenbrechen

Label: Candlelight Records

Release: October 21st, 2013 (Europe) / October 22nd, 2013 (North America)

Oficial Site Social Media

Genre: Avant-garde / Experimental Metal

Country: Norway

Rating: 88/100

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