CD review IHSAHN ‘Telemark’ – EP

The winter storms blow a new release from the North towards Europe. Norwegian Black Metal icon Ihsahn is the sender of this ice cold and blackened breeze from Telemarken, home to him and source of inspiration for this EP.

‘Telemark’ is dark and ferocious. Although ‘Nord’ comes with a harmonic solo part it’s Ihsahn’s vocals being aggressive and mournful at the same time. It’s the ideal musical metaphor for rough nature and what it means to live a life there.

Before reaching ‘Nord’ you will face ‘Strigid’ and it’s an oppressive start into the mini album. According to Ihsahn the song reflects the “scepticism towards outside interference” by the people of Telemark, something Dutch cartographers already had to face in 1600s. In this sense the song is a continuation of the Emperor’s working-method of sailing around outer influences too. This tune has evil weaved into every note.

With ‘Telemark’, the songs, Ihsahn unveils a next homage to his home-province. Again it’s darkness being the overarching mood, in general a bit calmer compared with the previous two tracks. A folk-like melody finds its way through the entire song and although the song has atmospheric sections the raging Black Metal outbursts are the counterpart needed for not ending up in a too peaceful scenery.

While the three new compositions deliver a 100% Ihsahn it’s the cover versions being the surprise factor. Especially ‘Rock’n’Roll is Dead’, a Lenny Kravitz cover, comes from left-field. Iron Maiden’s ‘Wrathchild’ is a bit more of an understandable choice, but since both tunes belong to Ihsahn’s sonically and attitude ideals it is a logical consequence to have them on the EP. While a blackened version ‘Wrathchild’ sticks closer to the original it’s the Lenny Kravitz cover that turns Rock into Metal. In this, the saxophone parts are a well-placed experiments that become a success-factor.

‘Telemark’ is an exciting and very dark record, an EP that gets under one’s skin. With having these songs in mind you might think twice before visiting the Norwegian province. What you can go for in a much easier fashion is listening to ‘Telemark’, the EP. Blackened Metal can’t sound more inspiring than what you get offered with these songs.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Strigid
  2. Nord
  3. Telemark
  4. Rock’n’Roll is Dead (Lenny Kravitz cover)
  5. Wrathchild (Iron Maiden)

Label: Candlelight

Genre: Black Metal

Release Date EU: February 14th, 2020

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