Vegard Sverre Tveitan, better known as Ihsahn, is the frontman of Emperor. He is also straight up black metal royalty. With Emperor, he is hugely responsible in the formation and progression of the black metal subgenre. Rather than rest on his laurels, however, Ihsahn has continued to be a driving force in the genre, continuing to evolve beyond its constraints with his solo material.
To date, Ihsahn has released seven studio albums and two EPs, showcasing an ever-growing sound that incorporates his black metal roots as well as progressive metal, and at times even avant-grade and ambient. Clean vocals have also been utilised with increasing frequency, further expanding the sound.
Ihsahn’s ability to switch from his (frankly, iconic) black metal rasp to truly beautiful clean vocals is for me the highlight of his solo music. It’s a contrast that really emphasises the best of both worlds – and Ihsahn’s music really is the best of both worlds.
It is some of the best black metal being produced today, and it is some of the best prob metal as well. The fact there is such an amazing fusion of the two is what truly makes Ihsahn’s music special, though.
Ihsahn highlighted the dichotomy of his music last year when he released two EPs, ‘Telemark’ and ‘Pharos’, with each leaning harder into one genre (black metal and prog metal respectively). In doing so, Ihsahn demonstrated that which I’m sure was never in doubt – such is his talent that he could direct his attention all into one genre, and easily be among the best working in said genre.
Instead, Ihsahn utilises his unbelievable talent to break down boundaries between genres, continuing to be a shining light of artistic expression in extreme metal.