IHSAHN has been a prominent member of the Norwegian extreme metal scene since 1990 and has released a new EP in the form of Telemark through Candlelight Records, one of two that will be centered around his homeland of Telemark, Norway. This marks his eighth studio release with this current project. This not quite 25-minute, five track E.P is a solid mix of original raw black metal tracks in his native Norwegian tongue and two covers in English with an almost black metal meets old rock and roll type of sound.
The record opens up with “Stridig,” which sets the tone for the first three songs. With the dirty, gritty mix of guitars and drums combined with Ihsahn’s raspy voice, the band (Ihsahn and drummer Tobias Omes Andersen) let the listener know that this album is completely different from its predecessors despite it having a few similar elements. The subtle saxophone adds a nice hint of jazz before the track goes back into its true chaotic state.
“Nord” changes the pace with a slower beat yet manages to maintain the overall raw feel with grungy vocals and sax within. A surprise guitar solo at the 3:45 mark is a welcome change and adds a little oomph. Title track “Telemark” is the last of the trio of original songs in Norwegian and serves as the album’s longest. Clocking in at 7:43 it’s slightly faster than its predecessor but not as fast as the opener, picking up speed about halfway through. While it’s hard to grasp what’s being said if you don’t speak the language, there’s a lot of passion within them.
Telemark wraps up with two covers, Lenny Kravitz’s “Rock and Roll is Dead” and IRON MAIDEN’S “Wrathchild” both of which are performed in English yet have a unique spin on them, giving it new life. While the EP does fall just shy of twenty five minutes, it is a very powerful record and speaks volumes to what IHSAHN is capable of as a musician.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
-BRIAN “TORCH” IDELL