Telemark - Ihsahn

Two covers from the box

Ah yes, Ihsahn, it had to happen... I know it well. You so it doesn't get it, and we did neither, but Telemark is not a masterpiece, such as Ámr or the Arctic was. It is a very good attempt, and maybe if you had written a song more or left out the two miserable covers, so we could have talked about it, but alas and woe, Vegard... Alas and woe!

Unrealistic expectations

As the Vegard Sverre Tveitan, or as we know him, Ihsahn, last year announced that he was on the road with two EP's, both of which would hit in 2020, and that the first of them actually would be a step back to the classic Emperor, the people were wild! Especially here on, we could not be in ourselves, since we are quite happy Ihsahn, which can be seen in the fact that we have given his albums ten skulls, three out of four times 10! Consequently, expectations are sky-high, perhaps even unrealistic and unreasonably high for Telemark!

Back to the roots... Such as!

Ihsahn described the Telemark as a step back to his original roots. It is also why he chose to name the EP after the county, he grew up in. There is absolutely no doubt that the man with rullekraven and hornbrillerne is the absolute most talented of all the many black metal artists, Norway sprayed out in the 80'ies and 90'ies. Perhaps this is because it is precisely the fact that he always has been good to think out of the box and not just to burn the churches down and murdering those around him. It left the he to Faust, but enough about that!"

The Telemark consists of three new Ihsahn songs and two covers, one of which is something as unexpected as a Lenny Kravitz number (but we'll get into later), so in fact, there is only 60% Ihsahn on the EP, which is a shame!

The three numbers "Rivaling", "North" and "Telemark" feels very much like one long number. A sonic journey through Ihsahns upbringing, childhood and home, where the man himself is our guide. On a snarling, Norwegian, he tells us about all of these things can only be interrupted by Jørgen Munkebys saxofonspil, which gives the music a great jazzy and progressive element. Two things one hardly found much of the in Telemark county in the 1980s...

The music is unmistakably Ihsahn'sk. Despite his many excesses, so he has a very particular sound, which is not to be mistaken, but for one reason or another, so it all becomes a bit comical when bjæffes of us in the Norwegian language. Perhaps it is because the Norwegian just sounds so harmless. Perhaps it is because you are used to hearing him in English. Anyway, it works not completely.

And now for the elephant in the room – the two songs! One thing is an Iron Maiden cover, but Lenny fucking Kravitz?! I'm not saying one bad word about Lenny or his musical performance, but I'm struggling really to see the red thread here. It only becomes more difficult to cover, neither is especially well – and here is Munkebys saxophone just totally in the way unfortunately. The only positive thing I can say about the cover is that I find it amusing that one of the pioneers of Norwegian black metal, singing the following stanza: "You can't even sing or play an instrument. So you just scream instead". Then there is the cover of Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild", which actually is not bad, but still needless.

>> Check the songs and lyrics here