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(24:44; Candlelight Records)
Ihsahn surely needs no introduction, and here he takes a slightly different track with the first of two five-track EPs inspired by and dedicated to his home county of Telemark. “Having released full-length records nearly every second year since I was 16, I felt it might be time to try something else,” he explains. “Also, I wanted to approach what I do in a way that felt natural but also to try to adapt it to the way that music is now performed and experienced. I have seven solo albums out now, so the first EP is like a small recap, in a way. I did touch on some of the same thematics with ‘Arktis’ but this time it’s closer to home, both musically and, dare I say, culturally.” He took two songs as a base, Lenny Kravitz’s “Rock & Roll Is Dead” and Iron Maiden’s “Wrathchild”, and then wrote three numbers which had the same sort of sonic approach and attitude, and then recorded the two covers as well giving us the five numbers on the EP. Here he is showing the depth and breadth of black metal, mixing it with folk when the time is right, but always with the intensity and power we have all come to expect and love over the years. Personally I would have preferred it if he hadn’t included the two covers, and left it to our imagination, as “Rock and Roll is Dead” sounds somewhat strange, and “Wrathchild” is rather limp with the guitars just not in your face enough – and take it from me this is not a song which needs horns (brass as opposed to devil’s). But these two are at the end of the EP, so when playing this I just leave them off. It’s a real shame as the other three show that the master of black metal is still at the top of his game with his own music. It will be interesting to see what the next EP is like.
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