Metal Review: Ihsahn: Das Seelenbrechen (2013)

Ihsahn Das Seelenbrechen

Purchase Ihsahn Das Seelenbrechen

Ihsahn is back with his latest opus, “Das Seelenbrechen” (roughly translated: ‘The Soul Crushing’), with a release date of October 22, 2013 via Candlelight Records. As with most of Ihsahns’s post-Emperor work, “Das Seelenbrechen” is an album that needs to be slowly taken in. To say that this musically genius does not make the same album twice is a bit of an understatement.

I will be honest and tell you that I listened to this album a few times and was not getting into it at all, but after a lot of listens, it is starting to take me in. We have all heard the previously released tracks Hilber and the ultra-proggy NaCl, the latter of which is the one that I keep stumbling on. NaCl is quite a bit of a divergence from Ihsahn’s previous work.

After listening to tracks like Pulse, you realize that every hint of black metal is gone from Ihsahn’s music. That may or may not be a bad thing, but I like my music with a bit of an edge to it and “Das Seelenbrechen’s” edge is pretty dull.

Songs like Hilber are very coherent and friendly, and the entire opening of the album seems to be a stepping stone from 2012’s “Eremita.” The progressive metal envelope continues to be pushed with “Das Seelenbrechen,” and I appreciate Ihsahn for that. The opening four tracks, including the aforementioned Pulse are sonic masterpieces that work so well together, but the album begins to take a few missteps after that point. Tacit 2 is five minutes of a wasted track and Tacit becomes very chaotic jumping from one chaotic moment to the next. There are some interesting jazzy lines in the track, but it feels very much out of place.

Overall, the album is a nice listen, but nowhere near what I thought I was getting into. Some may say that is a great thing, but when you have trouble getting through a few tracks in the middle of an album, it makes it a tough album to enjoy.

Das Seelenbrechen Track Listing:
1. Hilber
2. Regen
3. NaCl
4. Pulse
5. Tacit 2
6. Tacit
7. Rec
8. M
9. Sub Ater
10. See

Ihsahn Line-up:
Ihsahn – Vocals / Guitars / Bass / Keyboards
Tobias Ørnes Andersen – Drums