REVIEW: Ihsahn – Pharos

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After two weeks my house is finally no longer filled with smoke. Let’s talk about the new Ihsahn.

Pharos came out on September 11 of this year, and is a moody prog-rock EP with two very not-metal covers in the roster. And I really dig it. One of the highlights for me is actually the cover of A-ha’s “Manhattan Skyline,” though it doesn’t do much different from the original other than beefing up the arrangement a little and adding some slightly moodier elements.

Only 3 out of 5 songs on Pharos are originals, all of them at the front of the EP. The opener, “Losing Altitude” really drew me in with the swirling textures and the layering on of melancholic, sorrowful moods and lyrics.

“Spectre at the Feast” took me a while to warm up to and I’m still not completely sold on the opening 30 seconds or so, but I do really appreciate the development that happens with the instrumental composition. Not a bad song by any means, but the opening motif and especially the lyrics come off as pretty cheesy to me.

The title track, however, is some good shit. Jazzy, the most metal-influenced on the record, and just an incredible moodscape. There’s an eeriness to “Pharos” that has me repeating the song over and over, and the jazz influence further pulled me in.  The fadeout at the end of this track, to me, marks that Ihsahn did mean for the title track to be the real end to Pharos and the two covers are little passion projects tacked on to the end as a bonus, though they still fit in with the EP very well.

Pharos is good. I don’t think it’ll get onto any end of year lists for me, but it’s a real good moody, smoldering prog rock album and it fits with the current mood I’ve got going very well, as everything burns down around me. Recommended.

Pharos is out through Candlelight Records.

3.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

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