„Art taps into the metaphysical and the archetypes of our existence – it lets us experience loss, death, love – it prepares us for all of those things in some way. That’s the value, that’s the perspective I wish to create from.”
Ihsahn has released the final single to be taken from his forthcoming self-titled album. ‚The Distance Between Us‘ introduces us to the more melancholic, spacious side of the release. Accompanying the track is a haunting new video, a continuation of the conceptual storyline which has been spread across previous singles, ‚Pilgrimage To Oblivion‚ and ‚Twice Born‚, all filmed by Shaun Hodson at Loki Films.
New album, definitively titled Ihsahn, will be released on 16th February 2024 via Candlelight Records. Daring to push the realms of creative expressionism even further with his eighth studio offering, the Norwegian progressive metal visionary will release two melodically interlinked versions of the same album: one prog metal, one fully symphonic, both creating a cinematically-influenced masterpiece.
Check out ‘The Distance Between Us’ here: https://youtu.be/QZyVazpVWoI
Pre-order and listen to Ihsahn here: https://ihsahn.lnk.to/IHSAHN
Commenting on the new track, Ihsahn says: „The first two singles were taken from the beginning of the conceptual narrative, generating the hubris and determination required. With this last single, we’re getting closer to the end of the story and hence both music and lyrics express a more reflective and melancholic perspective.“
Whilst his musical journey has been frequently revelatory, the masterful control of rhythm and movement displayed throughout Ihsahn shows his work as a songwriter and composer at its most focused and self assured. A gargantuan endeavour and one that Ihsahn professes to be one of the most complex projects he has ever undertaken, is a labyrinthine rabbit-hole of his own design; the scale of ambition immediately apparent. Wholly self-produced and scored over the course of three years, the metal version has been mixed by Jens Bogren, the orchestral version mixed by Joel Dollié and both versions were mastered by Tony Lindgren. Ihsahn freely admits that the process pushed him to his limits. It began, simply, with a piano.
Comments Ihsahn, “On average, I´ve been releasing a full-length album every second year since I was 16. And, you know, that has given me some opportunity to explore different options, so for my eighth full-length solo record, I thought, ‘okay, how can I do what I do best, but also raise the bar tenfold? At the heart of what I do is black metal, extreme distorted guitars and screaming, but since the earliest Emperor recordings you’ll hear the keyboard parts influenced by classic soundtracks by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, John Carpenter and so on. So, I approached the writing with the intent to present the material in its full-blown metal expression, but also to arrange the orchestral parts in such a way that they would work independently. Somehow an attempt to write a soundtrack within the structures of the full production, allowing me to explore different, and sometimes contrasting, variations of essentially the same music. In the end I wrote all the music as a piano short-score and arranged it for a typical band ensemble and orchestra, accordingly, making sure everything interlocked.”
It’s that compositional core that allowed Ihsahn to build the two records from the ground up – a Herculean feat for the self-professed, self-taught musician, but it is perhaps that very absence of formal training that allowed him to throw out the rulebook and simply follow his instincts, and the time afforded by the pandemic created the natural gap required to so heavily invest himself in the project. That self-induced pressure came from a desire to keep his loyal fanbase and himself interested, which is not only the defining feature of his latest record, but it’s also the central characteristic of his entire solo career.
Joining Ihsahn on this album are Tobias Ørnes Andersen and Tobias Solbakk on drums and percussion, with Ihsahn’s son Angell Solberg Tveitan adding additional percussion and violins by Chris Baum. Artwork for the album was created by Ritxi Ostariz with all promotional photography by Andy Ford.
Not satisfied to only create a dual-record, there is also a conceptual story which underpins both sides of Ihsahn – a pair of separate but interwoven Wagnerian narratives revolving around the traditional hero’s journey, and while Ihsahn is reticent to tell all, he is confident that meaning will soon emerge for listeners willing to show equal commitment.
Since 1991 Ihsahn has defied expectations and pushed boundaries. More than any other artist to emerge from the fertile black metal scene of the early ‘90s, Ihsahn has firmly established himself as an unpredictable maverick. As the founding frontman of Emperor he is universally lauded as one of extreme music’s most important and influential voices, and he stands as the figurehead for what was arguably black metal’s creative apex. What is even more important to note is that as a solo artist Ihsahn has all but outgrown the confines of that achievement, and over the course of seven records he has forged a sterling reputation for innovation and unabashed originality that’s as genre-bending as it is gleefully indifferent to the weight of expectation. Starting with the release of 2006’s critically acclaimed The Adversary he has never made the same record twice, and it is that resistance to a templated approach that has become the cornerstone of his gloriously creative second act.