Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen

Originally posted on Ghost Cult Magazine’s website link here


As a man of many talents, Vegard “Ihsahn” Tveitan has long drawn inspiration from many genres of music which has ensured the works of both seminal Black Metallers Emperor, Folk project Hardingrock, the classically inclined Peccatum and his sprawling progressive solo work have all remained at the forefront of innovation.

Fourth release Das Seelenbrechen (Candlelight), translating to “The Soul Breaking” in English, sees Ihsahn pushing further into the realms of Avant Garde experimentalism. Aided by the fine gents in Leprous, Tveitan has crafted an increasingly bold complex concoction of intricate time changes, free jazz passages and snarling extreme metal. ‘Hiber’ begins with jagged riffs over which Vegard snarls “The seeds of evil flowers grow…” before chiming keys are entwined with hypnotic synths that wouldn’t be out of place on a Goblin record. It is grand and highly involving material which will merit many repeat listens in order to fully comprehend.

‘Regen’ sees a tender, clean vocal rendered gracefully while shuffling drums and tinkling keys build up tension before that terrifying roar commands “Let the heavens cry!” amongst a whirlpool of power chords and cacophonous symphonics. The eerie, clean vocals of the man himself have gone from strength to strength and while the unmistakable screams are still harrowing in their intensity, they play second fiddle to the heart rendering, solemn falsettos which form the likes of ‘Pulse’.

Such a performance may draw comparisons with the work of former collaborator Mikael Åkerfeldt, yet they retain a feel all their own. Certainly the aforementioned track will not amuse hardcore black metal fans with its synthetic beats which recall acts like Massive Attack but it serves as more than just a breakwater between walls of discordance. Far more challenging are the hellish freejazz workouts of ‘Tacit 2′ a wall of feedback with Tobias Andersen adding a dense layer of tribal percussion underneath torn throated screams.

Stereotypical extreme metal this isn’t and while the discordant rhythms may take a bit of getting used to, the appearance of long time collaborator Jørgen Munkeby lending some ferocious alto saxophone to the demented freak show adds a sublime yet schizophrenic groove. Certainly a few of the seventies prog references do feel somewhat obvious but when you consider the level of musicianship and the speed with which this rich tapestry of styles has been lovingly woven together, it is truly outstanding. A resolute and forward thinking release which boldly presses the agenda of its author. Das Seelenbrechen is a grotesquely wonderful creation.


Ross Baker


Nine Inch Nails “Hesitation Marks”

For my thoughts on: Nine Inch Nails “Hesitation Marks” 

My Review of Nine Inch Nails New album "Hesitation Marks" originally published by Ghost Cult Magazine!

My Review of Nine Inch Nails New album “Hesitation Marks” originally published by Ghost Cult Magazine!






Vista Chino









Genre: Extreme Post Metal
Label: Candlelight Records

Something nasty is brewing over in France. Having given birth to the cold atmospherics of Blut Aus Nord, a new contender has emerged through the mire; that of C.R.O.W.N. a duo capable of creating devastating walls of claustrophobic noise with a harrowing intensity.

This is their full debut album, a towering shadowy figure intend on causing mayhem and torment as it grips you, dragging through its ten epic chapters. Majestic in its oppressive nature; anguished roaring tops glacial ostinatos which evoke a truly chilling feel to both the dense volume of “Blood Runs” and the tranquil build up sections which add tension to the likes of “Serpent And Fire” before the hostility floods back in.

“Man is so infinitely small” the eerie sample which introduces “Psychokinesy II” gives a perfect description of how insignificant and tiny this crushing experience makes you feel whilst ushering in the albums second movement. Pulsing electronics abound adding artificial coldness and while the vocoder glazed vocals are somewhat unnecessary they do little to detract from the overall bleakness and sombre beauty of this compelling work. The jewel here however is the colossal obelisk of guitars that fuel “We Will Crush The Open Sky”; a number as devoid of hope as its moniker suggests. The mood of the album is at times soothing in between moments of utter despair and malignancy which only enhances its ability to render you powerless to resist. “Psychurgy” prowls the dark recesses of the psyche praying on your unsuspecting consciousness and will never want to leave.