Ihsahn – Arktis. (2016)


Multi-instrumentalist one-man show Ihsahn makes a surprise 2016 return with another unique release titled “Arktis.”. Considerably less experimental and out of whack than his previous release, this album delivers 11 very interesting song that while pushing the envelope, they consolidate the signature Ihsahn sound.

Opening with the Proggy “Disassembled”, Ihsahn crafts a very catchy song with a killer chorus section. With some additional vocals by Einer Solberg (Leprous), this is one very melodic and engaging opening piece. Things turn quickly dark with the sinister “Mass Darkness” and its crafty atmospheric guitar work. This track is quite unique as it features some funky tempo changes and epic vocal arrangements (featuring Matt Heafy), all within the Ihsahn realm.

For those clamoring for more proggy/experimental songs, “My Heart is of the North” and “Pressure” are two fine examples of how creative and playful Ihsahn gets in this release. Always pushing the envelope, “In the Vaults” is one of our favorite pieces in this release thanks to the multiple vocal styles used and epic riffs. This track nicely stands out from the rest thanks to its very melodic nature. Another odd but very cool experimental track is the Heavy Metal-esque “Until I Too Dissolve” which breaks up the flow of this album, but shows a unique side Ihsahn.

There are two tracks we are not very sure about in this release as they sound like Kovenant and similar outfirts, these songs are “South Winds” and “Frail”. While these songs have cool elements, they just feel completely outside the flow of this release. For those of us that enjoyed the saxophone tracks from Ihsahn’s earlier works, “Crooked Red Line” again captures that sultry jazzy vibe thanks to an appearance by Jørgen Munkeby.

As this album comes near a close, “Celestial Violence” is another standout song filled with dramatic vocal arrangements and very epic atmospheric elements. For those looking into buying the deluxe CD, “Til Tor Ulven” is a very unique atmospheric piece that nicely rounds up this album. As expected, Ihsahn delivers yet another brilliant release filled with awesome ideas that masterfully translate into solid songs. Further expanding his signature sound with new elements, “Arktis.” is a release that will definitely appeal to any of his previous fans and will continue to cement his legacy.

Band: Ihsahn Album: Arktis.

Label: Candlelight Records

Release: April 8th, 2016

Official Site Social Media

Genre: Experimental Progressive Metal

Country: Norway

Rating: 92/100

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