Rating:
N/A
Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen
22 October 2013


01. Hiber
02. Regen
03. NaCl
04. Pulse
05. Tacit 2
06. Tacit
07. Rec
08. M
09. Sub Äter
10. See
11. Entropie [limited edition bonus]
12. Hel [limited edition bonus]


At this point into his career, I think it's pretty fair to say that Ihsahn has developed a very "love it or hate it" type of vibe with his solo work. Either you love the man's introspective mind and the creative twists and turns he takes his music on (*raises hand*), or you think that this "extreme progressive" shit is all just a bunch of superfluous fluff, and he needs to get over himself and get back to some As The Shadows Rise-esque material. While Ihsahn's first efforts did generally contain enough BM elements to keep some of the kvlt pvrists pleased, it was 2010's After that saw him embarking on some more daring and unconventional voyages, a pattern he's continued ever since, and which arguably comes full circle with his fifth effort.

Das Seelenbrechen (that's "The Soul Break" for those without Rosetta Stones) in many ways comes across as Ihsahn's most ambitious material to date, with a huge variety of sounds and emotion that stretch from the simplistic to the complex, and from the mellow to the aggressive. Again we see Ihsahn continuing the use of his impressive clean vocals on tracks such as "Rec," "Regen" and "Pulse," the latter two also containing some choir-like effects that greatly help to enhance the overall aesthetic. Generally, these more relaxed moments contain softer and more dreamlike instrumentation, such as piano and very clear, expressive guitar leads (the one towards the end of "M" is nothing short of astounding).

On the other hand, Das Seleenbrechen also has a fierce, chaotic side to it as well, and does indeed get quite avant garde at some points. The composition during such moments may strike some listeners as a little too out there, and even a bit messy, but in a way this feels like an intentional technique on Ihsahn's part, not just unnecessary extravagance. Closer "See" is perhaps the best example: the track is smothered in a thick layer of effects, the drums progress it forward very rhythmically, and Ihsahn's guttural vocals are the icing that helps it feel even more disturbing and unfamiliar. "M," meanwhile, has a very darkly atmospheric feel going on in its first half, only further peaked by Ihsahn's clever choice to add some spoken word into it.

Despite this, Das Seleenbrechen is not, as some early listeners have been suggesting, a sloppy album by any means. In fact, most of the album is pretty tightly composed, with well-structured rhythms and grooves that can actually be pretty memorable (see the main riffs for "NaCl" and "Pulse"). The album's stranger moments occur more towards its end, making it seem as though Ihsahn deliberately chose to move it progressively from order to chaos, fully representing the "soul break" of its title. Furthermore, Ihsahn is a true master of his craft, who has proven time and time again that he knows very well what he wants with his music, and how to execute it. Das Seleenbrechen is certainly no exception.


Band profile: Ihsahn
Album: Das Seelenbrechen


 



Written on 23.10.2013 by
Apothecary
"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a master. But without innovation, it is a corpse."
-Winston Churchill
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K†ulu - 23.10.2013 at 15:15  
Now that's what I call a well-written review: general description of the sound and style, commentary on the songwriting proficiency with examples of elements used including on which songs, reviewer's attitude towards the album is clear, conclusion is the conclusion.

So yeah, good job. Will give this a listen sometime; I am a little reluctant after Eremita.
Apothecary - 23.10.2013 at 15:35  
Written by K†ulu on 23.10.2013 at 15:15

Now that's what I call a well-written review: general description of the sound and style, commentary on the songwriting proficiency with examples of elements used including on which songs, reviewer's attitude towards the album is clear, conclusion is the conclusion.

So yeah, good job. Will give this a listen sometime; I am a little reluctant after Eremita.

Thanks much buddy!
This release is in my opinion a lot more balanced in terms of its harsh and rough moments than Eremita was. A lot more relaxing moments in general, too, so if you're looking for that you'll probably enjoy it a lot more.
K†ulu - 23.10.2013 at 16:02  
Written by Apothecary on 23.10.2013 at 15:35

Written by K†ulu on 23.10.2013 at 15:15

Now that's what I call a well-written review: general description of the sound and style, commentary on the songwriting proficiency with examples of elements used including on which songs, reviewer's attitude towards the album is clear, conclusion is the conclusion.

So yeah, good job. Will give this a listen sometime; I am a little reluctant after Eremita.

Thanks much buddy!
This release is in my opinion a lot more balanced in terms of its harsh and rough moments than Eremita was. A lot more relaxing moments in general, too, so if you're looking for that you'll probably enjoy it a lot more.

I don't what I am looking for but I know I liked After a lot. I have not listened to that album in a while, and I don't know how I will perceive it nowadays, but I remember it being great.
Apothecary - 23.10.2013 at 16:12  
Written by K†ulu on 23.10.2013 at 16:02

I don't what I am looking for but I know I liked After a lot. I have not listened to that album in a while, and I don't know how I will perceive it nowadays, but I remember it being great.

It's a lot more like After than Eremita was. There isn't any sax, unfortunately, but somehow it feels like there didn't need to be. You'll see what I mean once you get deep into this new release, I love Jorgen Munkeby's work with Ihsahn but with the direction the latter took with this new album, sax wouldn't really seem to fit to me.
Unhealer - 23.10.2013 at 16:32  
Finally some not album of the year material by Ihsahn
I don't love it nor hate it. I don't think it's average either, let's just say it's interesting to hear what he attempted even though the songs don't really get to me. That's based on just a few listens anyway, we'll see what happens later.

BTW, I'm pretty sure there is sax in one track, "Tacit" it was? Not nearly as present as before, but it's something.
Apothecary - 23.10.2013 at 16:36  
Written by Unhealer on 23.10.2013 at 16:32

I'm pretty sure there is sax in one track, "Tacit" it was? Not nearly as present as before, but it's something.

Oh yes, thank you, right in the middle actually. That's pretty damn subtle though, not nearly as in your face as this.
Daniell - 24.10.2013 at 11:01  
Thanks for indirectly mentioning me in your review
And I agree with you, the album is very solid, my initial impression was quite wrong.
Merchant of Doom - 24.10.2013 at 11:10  
Pretty good shit... the chap keeps surprising me...
Apothecary - 24.10.2013 at 15:08  
Written by Daniell on 24.10.2013 at 11:01

Thanks for indirectly mentioning me in your review

Only for u bby
Lonniehaskel - 24.10.2013 at 19:51  
Oh god I love this album.
K†ulu - 25.10.2013 at 19:38  
Written by Apothecary on 23.10.2013 at 16:12

Written by K†ulu on 23.10.2013 at 16:02

I don't what I am looking for but I know I liked After a lot. I have not listened to that album in a while, and I don't know how I will perceive it nowadays, but I remember it being great.

It's a lot more like After than Eremita was. There isn't any sax, unfortunately, but somehow it feels like there didn't need to be. You'll see what I mean once you get deep into this new release, I love Jorgen Munkeby's work with Ihsahn but with the direction the latter took with this new album, sax wouldn't really seem to fit to me.

So I listened to it, and I did not hate it, and overall it made some sense. Listening to After right now, and, man, I remember I liked it so much, but the new album does not seem to be in any way similar to After. Needs to more listens though to judge though...
Apothecary - 25.10.2013 at 20:32  
Written by K†ulu on 25.10.2013 at 19:38

Listening to After right now, and, man, I remember I liked it so much, but the new album does not seem to be in any way similar to After.

I meant in the sense that it has very relaxing moments, like After. Eremita was a lot more aggressive.
K†ulu - 25.10.2013 at 20:42  
Written by Apothecary on 25.10.2013 at 20:32

Written by K†ulu on 25.10.2013 at 19:38

Listening to After right now, and, man, I remember I liked it so much, but the new album does not seem to be in any way similar to After.

I meant in the sense that it has very relaxing moments, like After. Eremita was a lot more aggressive.

Oh, I see. My initial impression of it is, in fact, of it being a generally mellower album.
3rdWorld - 28.10.2013 at 05:39  
I am sucker for Ihsahn's backing band, the guys from Leprous but irrespective of that, I found this album very enjoying just through the first spin itself. I think I might even prefer this experimental work to his earlier solo albums, If the overall album is a little more tight that is.

We have to see where he goes from here.
DJ Cos - 29.10.2013 at 08:51  
Nice review... I am looking forward to this one... I have kinda been waiting for Ihasahns geniousness to come together in a more coherent matter... After and Eremita show only parts of what he can do in my opinion... I want more"

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