Ihsahn drops video for new single, “The Distance Between Us”, off his upcoming self-titled album.

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“Art taps into the metaphysical and the archetypes of our existence – it lets us experience loss, death, love – it prepares us for all of those things in some way. That’s the value, that’s the perspective I wish to create from.” – Ihsahn

Ihsahn has released the final single to be taken from his forthcoming self-titled album. “The Distance Between Us” introduces us to the more melancholic, spacious side of the release. Accompanying the track is a haunting new video, a continuation of the conceptual storyline which has been spread across previous singles, “Pilgrimage To Oblivion” and “Twice Born”, all filmed by Shaun Hodson at Loki Films.

The new album, will be released on February 16th via Candlelight Records. Daring to push the realms of creative expressionism even further with his eighth studio offering, the Norwegian Progressive Metal visionary will release two melodically interlinked versions of the same album: one Prog Metal, one fully symphonic, both creating a cinematically-influenced masterpiece.

Ihsahn says on the new track: “The first two singles were taken from the beginning of the conceptual narrative, generating the hubris and determination required. With this last single, we’re getting closer to the end of the story and hence both music and lyrics express a more reflective and melancholic perspective.”

Whilst his musical journey has been frequently revelatory, the masterful control of rhythm and movement displayed throughout “Ihsahn” shows his work as a songwriter and composer at its most focused and self-assured. A gargantuan endeavour and one that Ihsahn professes to be one of the most complex projects he has ever undertaken, is a labyrinthine rabbit-hole of his own design, the scale of ambition immediately apparent. Wholly self-produced and scored over the course of three years, the Μetal version has been mixed by Jens Bogren, the orchestral version mixed by Joel Dollié and both versions were mastered by Tony Lindgren. Ihsahn freely admits that the process pushed him to his limits. It began, simply, with a piano.

Ihsahn comments: “On average, I’ve been releasing a full-length album every second year since I was 16. And, you know, that has given me some opportunity to explore different options, so for my eighth full-length solo record, I thought, ‘okay, how can I do what I do best, but also raise the bar tenfold?’ At the heart of what I do is Black Metal, extreme distorted guitars and screaming, but since the earliest EMPEROR recordings you’ll hear the keyboard parts influenced by classic soundtracks by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, John Carpenter and so on. So, I approached the writing with the intent to present the material in its full-blown Metal expression, but also to arrange the orchestral parts in such a way that they would work independently. Somehow an attempt to write a soundtrack within the structures of the full production, allowing me to explore different, and sometimes contrasting, variations of essentially the same music. In the end I wrote all the music as a piano short-score and arranged it for a typical band ensemble and orchestra, accordingly, making sure everything interlocked.”

It’s that compositional core that allowed Ihsahn to build the two records from the ground up – a Herculean feat for the self-professed, self-taught musician, but it is perhaps that very absence of formal training that allowed him to throw out the rulebook and simply follow his instincts, and the time afforded by the pandemic created the natural gap required to so heavily invest himself in the project. As Ihsahn explains, that self-induced pressure came from a desire to keep his loyal fanbase and himself interested, which is not only the defining feature of his latest record, but it’s also the central characteristic of his entire solo career.

“Ihsahn” track listing:

  1. Cervus Venator
  2. The Promethean Spark
  3. Pilgrimage to Oblivion
  4. Twice Born
  5. A Taste of the Ambrosia
  6. Anima Extraneae
  7. Blood Trails to Love
  8. Hubris and Blue Devils
  9. The Distance Between Us
  10. At the Heart of All Things Broken
  11. Sonata Profana

You can listen to “The Distance Between Us”, along with its orchestral version, in the following videos:

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