Welcome to Napalm Flesh! This week, we have an interview with the prolific Norwegian musician Ihsahn. Formerly of black metal heavyweights Emperor, Ihsahn has been cultivating a solo career since 2006 and released his fourth solo album, Eremita, last week. We also have a rundown of this week’s metal events throughout Salt Lake.
Compiled by Bryer Wharton
Tonight, Valient Thorr headlines In The Venue (all ages) with fellow touring bands Holy Grail and Royal Thunder with locals the Kickass and Merlins Beard. Tickets are $13, doors open at 7 pm.
Crucial Fest continues throughout the weekend with a variety of shows at all ages and 21+ venues in SLC. Check exigentrecords.com for the complete schedule.
Friday June 29, Tides of War (from Michigan) headlines Burt's (21+) with Eyes of Damnation, Burn Your World and Bloodpurge. $6 gets you in the door music at 9 pm.
Saturday, June 30, check out the Sonic Slaughterhouse or Metal Night, with metal tunes coming from the DJ skills of former SLUG metal writer “The Butcher.” No cover to get into Club Expose (21+), tunes at 9 pm.
Much like the inspiration for his experimental extreme metal meditations, Ihsahn's focus settles on the philosophical side of music. Using his deep knowledge and interest in music, he relates a compelling story about his solo career, starting with his first three albums, a trilogy exploring the mythological “outsider”. Now, with the release of his new album Eremita, he feels liberated from the constraints of the trilogy format. Giving himself the license to explore his thoughtful—and occasionally paranoid—realms of extreme metal, he speaks of the future and present prospects of his solo project.
SLUG: After was the capstone of your previous trilogy of albums. What do you feel is beginning with Eremita?
Ihsahn: I kind of like to think of it as the continuation of my work, as well as a new beginning. The reason I did a trilogy to start with was because I wanted to give myself the time span, and the room for three albums to build the musical foundation for this project. I kind of like where I ended up with After. There's still the ground foundation of what I guess you'd call extreme metal, but still with more room for experimentation. I gathered some technique and a little bit of confidence from working like this, and I wanted build on that further on this album. And you know, it's kind of liberated from the concept of the trilogy. I've always had the question, “will there be another trilogy?” This time around, I don't feel the need for it. I kind of liked the development of those three albums, and now I feel I want to explore more of the diversity of where this musical project is at.
SLUG: The word “Eremita” translates to “Hermit.” What is the significance of this album title?
Ihsahn: It reflects the album and my work on different levels. On the most mundane level, I guess it's um... you know, me—practically doing this more or less on my own. I work as a solo artist in my own studio, and play most of the instruments. It's kind of a solitary experience in itself. Apart from that—that's not the main reason I chose that title—is that I've always associated with these sorts of mythological figures, through my career, and through my work, that stand off to the side of the collective. You know, the typical outsider perspective. Through my whole career I've used Lucifer or Prometheus or Icarus. Through my solo albums, I've portrayed it as The Adversary and Angel. It's something I come back to. Through my whole solo career, Nietzsche has been a huge influence. He himself was kind of a philosophical hermit, especially in his own age. Of course, he writes about my favorite hermit, Zarathustra. In the end, the whole concept of the album is a lyrical scenario where the protagonist has to escape. But not in a typical Hermit philosophical way, it's rather more paranoid madness.