“Art taps into the metaphysical and the archetypes of our existence,” states Ihsahn as the Norwegian musician announces the impending release of a new self-titled album. With the introductory single, “Pilgrimage to Oblivion,” the progressive and experimental metal artist presents “the overarching musical and conceptual aspects of the album,” which will be released in two versions: one metal and one fully symphonic. As such, the accompanying video for “Pilgrimage to Oblivion” is also presented in two distinct versions, with the metal version shot by Shaun Hodson at Loki Films, and the orchestral created as an animated visualizer by Costin Chioreanu of Twilight13Media; furthermore, the lyrical and visual narrative to be expanded upon in future videos laying out the whole story of Ihsahn.
On the approach to create the album in two versions, Ihsahn explains that although black metal remains at the heart of his output, his keyboard arrangements and orchestrations drew influence from soundtrack composers like Jerry Goldsmith, John Carpenter, and Bernard Herrmann. Beginning primarily with the piano, “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.” He goes on to call it his most complex and most personally gratifying project yet, stating that “it has nothing to do with ego or prestige, but rather to do with gratitude for the experience,” and that the value of art is in how it allows people to experience and prepare for loss, death, and love.
Self-produced and created over the last three years, Ihsahn marks the artist’s eighth full-length studio offering, following up on 2018’s Àmr; in the interim, Ihsahn released the Pharos and Telemark EPs in 2020, followed in 2023 by the Fascination Street Sessions EP. Both versions of Ihsahn are mastered by Tony Lindgren, with Jens Bogren helming the mixing duties for the metal variant, and Joel Dollié mixing the orchestral version. Also featured are drummers Tobias Ørnes Andersen and Tobias Solbakk, as well as violinist Chris Baum, and Ihsahn’s son Angell Solberg Tveitan providing additional percussion. Ihsahn will be released on February 16, 2024 via Candlelight Records, with pre-orders available now CD and vinyl formats, as well as a limited edition boxed set featuring both versions of the album; digital pre-orders will arrive at a later date.