Album Review: Ihsahn - Telemark

Artist: Ihsahn

Album: Telemark

Genre: Black Metal/Experimental

Review by Steve Jenkins

Ihsahn is without question one of the most ambitious and creative artists of the black metal scene, a staple in the extreme music world and always evolving his craft. The mastermind behind some of the most iconic and influential black metal albums of all time such as 'In The Nightside Eclipse' and 'Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk' - Ihsahn has always been innovative and pushed boundaries. His solo career has been no different, as we now have another piece of art to relish and enjoy in the brand new EP titled 'Telemark'.

The EP features 5 tracks in total, consisting of 3 original songs and 2 covers (Lenny Kravitz's "Rock and Roll is Dead" and Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild"). The first offering we hear is "Stridig" which is shows a heavier side compared to most of the EP, with the presence of a saxophone which oddly enough blends in quite well. There are also some more proggy elements thrown in there also, and overall this is a very solid track lots of dynamic sounds featured. “Nord" is up next, sung in his native Norwegian tongue, this one is a bit slower with a little more melody layered in there and a smooth bass line which is terrific. This one definitely isn't the most extreme song on the EP, but it certainly gives you the feeling of black metal and the Norwegian culture. "Telemark" is a wonderful composition nearing 8 minutes in length, everything about this track rocks. The slow build with proggy attributes as well as that saxophone eventually leading to a more heavier middle with scorching riffs and bellowing harsh vocals from the master himself.

'Telemark' is another crowning achievement to add to Ihsahn's stellar resume of releases. The experimentation and risks that he takes on every project he works on seem to be paying off and he sounds absolutely brilliant on this EP. Showing hints of that Emperor evilness that we all know and love, but also moving forward with new ideas and sounds. It's definitely a natural and organic progression for Ihsahn and I can't wait to hear his next release which won't be too far off. A true visionary in what sometimes can be a close-minded sub genre of metal. Ihsahn truly is king!

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Telemark is out February 14th via Candlelight Records.

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