Although I knew of Emperor (certainly, how can anyone who’s into black metal not?), I only discovered Ihsahn’s solo work at the time of his Eremita record due to one day browsing and seeing it on Amazon. I was curious but it would be a few years until I would actually buy the record, around the time of his then-latest record Das Seelenbrechen coming out, which was out in 2013. I found the aforementioned album to be completely different and totally experimental. With Emperor remastering/re-releasing their legendary album In The Nightside Eclipse in 2014, a year after Das Seelenbrechen came out, the question arose would see any new material from the band, if things ever went that far? Sadly, and maybe a little bit too obviously, we did not see any new material emerge from Emperor. A couple of years went by, I went onto other albums, life went by, and the new tune from Ihsahn emerges in the form of “Mass Darkness”. It is always hard for me to describe a new album because I am still digesting the record. I certainly like Ihsahn’s body of work so far, right from his work with Emperor – who doesn’t? – through to this experimental solo work. It’s very unusual for me to ever dislike something if I go and out buy it, either online or a shop. The fact that I’m buying it should be evidence enough. Arktis is Ihsahn’s sixth solo album. After a couple of weeks of listening to this, whilst I’m listening to other stuff just so I’m not love-banging this record, even though there was a point where I was listening to it non-stop, I can safely that this album is heavy in places (“Disassembled”, “Mass Darkness”, “My Heart is of the North”, “South Winds” and “Celestial Violence”) and experimental in places too (“South Winds”, “In The Vault”, “Until I Too Dissolve”, “Pressure”, “Frail” and “Crooked Red Line” which features some saxophone). This album has a great mixture in the record of both heavy, soft and experimental, which may be one reason why I like it so much. I like albums that sound weird, I like music that sounds weird too — it goes hand in hand. “Disassembled” and lead single “Mass Darkness” both start off this album well, with “My Heart is of the North” following up nicely (featuring a lot of mellotron and synths also), but then “South Winds” is the proverbial out-of-nowhere tune. It has the slightest hint of a groove, but really if you’re looking for that you’re not going to find it. “Until I Too Dissolve”, “In The Vaults”, “Pressure” and “Frail” for me signify the middle of the album, whilst “Frail”, “Crooked Red Line” (the ‘Saxophone song’ I’ll call it) and, the last song, “Celestial Violence” finish off this album really well. All in all, this is a terrific album that features both soft and heavy songs. It’s a really wonderful although I’m not sure about the end of year lists yet.