"Das Seelenbrechen"

By Octopi Mills

The last Ihsahn review I did was scornful and disenchanted, and I expect it before I even listen here to occur again in this review. From the start it plays like something modern from Ihsahn's solo catalog, with almost middle eastern sounding guitar melodies on the first track that call forth something progressive and fiddling at the same time. "Regen" beats around bushes of old and in doing so,  makes weird love with time signatures and little interludes of eccentricity. I wonder if the man sometimes knows he sounds like a guy giving students instructional guitar lessons throughout an album. I also wonder what the expanded graphics and liner notes do for this album in its digibook format.

The music has moments that explore things for their own sake of exploration, and it is overwhelming at almost all times. The music displays itself like some modern Norwegian art in a frame in a sterile living room that seems expensive and yet energy efficient. I know deep down I am not remote viewing the man's studio but it is the very soul of the artist, and one with which i have lost all touch or interest. Gone are the bacteria which caused the man's music to sound dangerous and darkly wondrous, and the recording and production are merely outcomes of the sterile environment in which they were created, but it is not the cause but the effect of this artist's integrity. The vocals on "Pulse" are like that of a pop artist and I cannot take the next song seriously beside the last and so on and so on. With one who has so much talent it is easy to see how the disease of progression can take over an entire kingdom and make it look like something in a pop art museum alongside cold glass sculptures and overly priced rugs.  Regardless of how talented one is, this disease is itself incurable and the need to progress turns the artist into a house plant that requires no water or sunlight but somehow thrives none the less.

Something social and cultural takes place in the attitude of music, making it sound like something French has been found, as if the lie of Paris has been found in the ports of Norway, and I hang my head and wring my hands like snakes. People change, always change, and often it is for the worse but with the best intentions. This time around I find the same things and step down again, unable to even muster more impolite things to say about it all. Words fall short of meaning somewhere nearing the end. I know someday this man will do something else, but it may take this sort of thing to get to there.