As we move into the first day of 2014, I find myself looking at my promo stack for those late 2013 releases that I just didn't have enough time to get to or really give enough time to before the year closed out. Das Seelenbrechen by legendary Emperor mastermind Ihsahn happens to fall into that category. Vastly different from his previous few solo releases, Das Seelenbrechen sees Ihsahn dive even further into progressive rock territory, as he slowly seems to be leaving the black metal behind. Though his harsh, raspy black metal vocals do show up on a few of the songs here, it's his melodic clean style that really is the star of the show on this one, accompanied by some inventive guitar layers, prog styled keyboards, and the acrobatic drum work courtesy of Tobias Ørnes Andersen. Some of the heavier tracks include "Hiber", the doom-meets-black metal of "Tacit 2", the soaring progressive metal of "Tacit", and the apocalyptic noise rock of the closer "See". For the most part though, you get plenty of melodic progressive rock, some folk, as well as what can only be called avant-garde, all of it expertly crafted, though extreme metal it certainly isn't.
Not one of those releases that is going to instantly grab you, Das Seelenbrechen is without a doubt one of the most diverse and eclectic albums of Ihsahn's career. It's probably going to split some fans, especially those that can't get enough of his black metal lineage, but the prog crowd will surely eat this one up.
05. Tacit 2
09. Sub Alter