Ihsahn - Telemark (2020)


With most bands happy to just crank out full-length after full-length releases, Black Metal pioneer Ihsahn decided to challenge himself and do the opposite: break up a full-length release and deliver it as two EP’s. In “Telemark” we can hear some of his most rawest and direct compositions in quite a while, showing that this experiment has allowed Ihsahn to focus on the duality of his sound in compartmentalized approaches.

The incisive opener “Stridig” perfectly balances raw and punishing BM onslaughts with trippy Saxophone elements and a very dreamy and yet aggressive stance. With all the lyrics in Norwegian, this track has a brilliant pace and feels like yet another exploratory dimension to Ihsahn’s unique musical vision. With a bluesy aggression to it, “Nord” perfectly combines heavy riffs with crafty tempo changes and a sultry hypnotic pace thanks to a piercing bass guitar line and sinister drum patterns.

As the best track in this release, the 7-minute title track delivers an intricate mixture of fast-paced BM passages that are interestingly sliced open with lush saxophones and crafty tempo changes. As the track climaxes, the listener is treated to brilliant arrangements that are both vicious and disarmingly folky/melodic. Overall, this is one of our favorite Ihsahn tracks of all time. Rounding up the EP we have a catchy cover of “Rock And Roll Is Dead” (Lenny Kravitz), which is fun and certainly playful, and a brilliantly executed cover of Iron Maiden’s “Wrathchild”, even with some excellent sax work longtime collaborator Jørgen Munkeby.

Primal, yet lush and delicate are our best words to describe the raw power of “Telemark” and the tracks in it. Ishahn continues to explore the depths of Black Metal while adding exciting elements to keep an always fresh edge paired with his signature sound. If you can only buy one records in February, make sure it is this brilliant EP.

Band: Ihsahn Album: Telemark

Label: Candlelight Records

Release: February 14th, 2020

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Genre: Progressive/Experimental Black Metal

Country: Norway

Rating: 95/100

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