Ihsahn: “The Weeknd is edgier than most extreme metal bands”

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Black metal icon Ihsahn has criticised the current metal scene for its lack of “danger”, claiming that R&B superstar The Weeknd is “edgier and more experimental.” 

Speaking exclusively to Metal Hammer, the sometime Emperor frontman reveals that he has recently been listening to The Weeknd’s new album, Dawn FM.

“It’s so heavy,” he says. “Maybe it’s just me being old and grumpy, but there’s so much new metal coming out where there’s no danger. I listen to a lot of commercial R&B like The Weeknd. That’s darker and more edgy and more experimental than most new extreme metal bands, to be honest.” 

While a collaboration between Ihsahn and The Weeknd looks unlikely, he has teamed up with Trivium frontman Matt Heafy for the latter’s Japanese-themed black metal project Ibaraki. The Norwegian musician engineered and produced Ibaraki’s debut album Rashomon, adding a guitar solo to the track Susanoo No Mikoto

Trivium drummer Alex Bent, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and guitarist Corey Beaulieu also appear on the album, though the most surprising collaborator is My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, who appears on the song Ronin.

“It’s really cool of him to want to join that,” says Ihsahn of Way’s involvement with Rashomon. “I wasn’t aware that he’s into that style of music so I think it’s really cool. I think it’s something he and Matt had been talking about. I think he did a really great job. He comes from a different world – screaming is not his natural way of singing. 

“As a musician, I think people overlook this; when you get to have a life in music, all of us get to a point where we love great music and we’re not fans of average music. What genre it is is beside the point.”

Rashomon is released on May 6.  

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