Are you wondering what the new Ihsahn EP sounds like? And like, is the progressive post black metal world still actually progressing, or is it just a bit of shrieking over some Sonic Youth tunings? Or, maybe, you are simply wondering whether there is a point in anything these days? Grumpy old bastard Marc Clewer, in his first (anti) post for oldmansmettle.com, takes a big sigh, and lets rip.
REVIEW BY MARC CLEWER
I’m sat here thinking about writing a short review of the new Ihsahn EP, Telemark. And I have some opinions about it, none of which are negative, and none of which are earth shatteringly interesting either, but it rather got me thinking about the subject of music reviews, or more specifically album reviews.
See, there was a time when Spotify and ITunes were not a thing. A time before Napster. A time, even, before Limewire (and porn popups!) Verily, there was even a time before tiresomely downloading albums in little chunks from IRC channels over dial up connections.
In those pre-internet days, if your musical tastes were non-mainstream you relied on the very limited number of specialist music shows on the radio, word of mouth, and reviewers to point you in the direction of new music. There was no easy way of previewing a record and that new music was expensive. In the mid-late 80’s an LP was 6 or 7 quid, a CD upwards of a tenner. To put that into perspective, for the price of a single CD you could sink 8 pints of Carling and have change for a bag of chips and the bus home. So we had trusted reviewers: you would learn which reviewers had tastes similar to your own and they would guide you towards new music, and what was or wasn’t worth your hard earned paper round money.
Now… reviews can be helpful I’m sure, but you don’t have to take their word for it anymore. If I say the new Ihsahn EP is good, you can go onto the internet and find it and listen to it and make your own decision. A reviewer saying something is good or bad or indifferent is only saving you the trouble of a quick search and five minutes listening time, and not a bus ride to HMV and a tenner you could be spending on shit lager.
For the record, Telemark is short but sweet – musically, it seems to follow on from Amr, though unlike the largely (if not entirely) English language Amr, what I see as the “core” 3 songs of the EP are sung in Norwegian – an homage to home from Ihsahn. The two cover versions – Rock and Roll is Dead (Lenny Kravitz originally) and Iron Maiden’s Wrathchild are done well, and in Ihsahn’s own style (Wrathchild with sax is a tooting hoot), but have a “B” side/bonus track feel about them – I guess that’s always going to be the case with artists who don’t generally “do” cover versions. Apparently there is another EP coming later this year, which I suppose I hope grabs my attention a little more than this one has. If this was 1988, it’d score a three and a half “K”s out of 5 in Kerrang and I’d probably get home from the Virgin Megastore and wish I’d invested my money in beer instead.
Buy here: https://www.candlelightrecords.co.uk/