Prog metal maverick Ihsahn is many things, but predictable isn’t one of them. A few months after the ex-Emperor frontman unexpectedly returned to his black metal roots on the acclaimed Telemark EP, he’s back with a brand new song Spectre At The Feast – and he’s headed off in a completely different direction once more.
Spectre At The Feast is the first track from Ihashn’s upcoming new EP, Pharos, released on September 11 – and we've got an exclusive premiere of the simple yet strangely hypnotic (and slightly sinister) video below.
The song itself finds the Norwegian at his – whisper it – poppiest. That’s not ‘pop’ as in ‘the godawful bilge you hear slopping out of the radio’, but ‘pop’ as in the kind of direct, soaring melodies you wouldn’t expect to hear from the man who once screeched out I Am The Black Wizards.
“It’s probably the most straightforward song on the EP,” Ihsahn tells Hammer of the song. “It’s got this almost pop-rock attitude. Lyrically, it’s kind of a fly-on-the-wall perspective on society – all the superficial, stupid things people turn into something meaningful when they’re not. It’s musing on when the facade will break.”
The five-track Pharos EP finds Ihsahn deliberately pivoting away from the dark, jagged noise of Telemark – a record that had Emperor fans rejoicing that he had come home to black metal. As well as Spectre At The Feast, Pharos features two more original songs, Losing Altitude and the title track, plus unexpected covers of trip-hop pioneers Portishead’s Roads and Manhattan Skyline by Norwegian pop titans A-ha.
“Telemark was everything that was close to my heart: basic guitar riffing, screaming vocals,” says Ihsahn of Pharos. “I thought, ‘I need to do a sequel where I do the exact opposite’ - things that I don't know how to do, explore sonic territory that I haven't explored.”
Pharos is released on September 11 digitally and on limited edition coloured vinyl, and is available to pre-order now. Watch the video for A Spectre At The Feast below.
Pharos EP tracklisting
2.Spectre At The Feast
4.Roads (Portishead cover)
5.Manhattan Skyline (A-ha cover, featuring Einar Solberg of Leprous)