While next year’s Emperor reunion causes waves of excitement from those desperate to see a live rendition of In The Nightside Eclipse, the band’s (ex-)frontman continues to break new ground with his solo work. You can’t help but wonder how it feels to still be best known for the music made during his teenage years, but artistically speaking Ihsahn has refused to play on past glories or make any concession to popular tastes.
This is one of his most convincing – and most accessible, given the current popularity of prog metal – works yet. Painting from a remarkably broad musical and emotional palette, Das Seelenbrechen lurches from one extreme to the another in a dynamic and often surprising manner.
That, of course, is nothing new for the multi-instrumentalist – who has recorded the album alone with the aid of live drummer and Leprous member Tobias Ørnes Andersen – but what impresses here is the fluidity of the whole experience. From the desolate, distorted soundscapes and Emperor-like horn-infused complexities of Tacit 2 and Tacit to the emotive and epic electronica of Pulse to the soaring Pink Floyd-esque guitars of M, this is an audacious and mind-expanding work of wonder.