Progressive Metal / Non-Metal / Avant-garde Metal • Norway
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Ihsahn (born 1975), born Vegard Sverre Tveitan, is a Norwegian guitar, bass and keyboard player and vocalist. He is best known for his work with Norwegian black metal band Emperor. He played in Peccatum with his wife Ihriel (real name Heidi S. Tveitan) until 2006 and has appeared in Thou Shalt Suffer, Zyklon-B and Hardingrock, and now devotes himself to his solo project, Ihsahn. In very early releases he went by the name Ygg.

Born in the town of Notodden, Norway, Tveitan began playing piano at seven and guitar at ten and began recording songs shortly thereafter. His influences range from heavy metal, classical, ambient and techno. He grew up on a large farm in rural Norway.

Tveitan first met his partner in numerous musical projects, Tomas Thormodsæter Haugen (a.k.a. Samoth) at the age of thirteen at a music seminar. Tveitan gained Haugen's attention with his Iron Maiden patches. In
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IHSAHN Discography

IHSAHN albums / top albums

IHSAHN The Adversary album cover 4.04 | 23 ratings
The Adversary
Progressive Metal 2006
IHSAHN angL album cover 4.15 | 22 ratings
Progressive Metal 2008
IHSAHN After album cover 3.99 | 44 ratings
Progressive Metal 2010
IHSAHN Eremita album cover 3.85 | 17 ratings
Progressive Metal 2012
IHSAHN Das Seelenbrechen album cover 4.00 | 11 ratings
Das Seelenbrechen
Avant-garde Metal 2013
IHSAHN Arktis. album cover 3.97 | 12 ratings
Progressive Metal 2016
IHSAHN Àmr album cover 3.86 | 10 ratings
Progressive Metal 2018

IHSAHN EPs & splits

IHSAHN Telemark album cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
Progressive Metal 2020
IHSAHN Pharos album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Non-Metal 2020

IHSAHN live albums

IHSAHN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

IHSAHN re-issues & compilations

IHSAHN singles (3)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Progressive Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Progressive Metal 2012

IHSAHN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

IHSAHN Reviews


Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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"After" is the 3rd full-lengh studio album by Norwegian progressive metal artist Ihsahn. The album was released through Candlelight Records in January 2010. It´s the successor to "angL" from 2008. All instruments and vocals are handled by Ihsahn, except the drums which are played by Asgeir Mickelson and session musicians Lars K. Norberg and Jørgen Munkeby who perform fretless bass and saxophone.

Stylistically "After" is a natural continuation of the progressive metal sound on "angL (2008)". Ihsahn sings both raw blackened vocals, but also performs strong clean vocals, and the instrumental part of the music is a sophisticated and very dynamic combination of progressive metal/rock and various more extreme metal oriented elements (and the occasional nod towards avant garde). Both the vocal and the instrumental performances on the album are of a high quality and generally just reek class. References to artists like Opeth, Enslaved, and Leprous are valid.

While Ihsahn certainly isn´t the most extreme of artists, there are still some relatively hard-edged moments, and his raw snarling vocals are also pretty rough and probably wouldn´t be easy to appreciate, if you´re not accustomed to extreme metal vocals. The music also features both melodic sections, and some melancholic atmospheric moments though, which should please fans of atmospheric progressive metal/rock. So it´s safe to say the material is varied and loaded with contrasts. Dark/light, loud/quiet, hard-edged/mellow. Ihsahn masters most elements to perfection.

All material on the 8 track, 53:04 minutes long album are well written and memorable. While all tracks are equally strong and nothing is sub par on the album, the 10 minutes long "Undercurrent" is to my ears one of the highlights. "After" features a powerful, clear, and detailed sound production, which suits the material well, and upon conclusion it´s another high quality release by Ihsahn, showing both enough development to keep the fans excited, but also consistency of sound and quality. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.


Album · 2018 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Always the trailblazer, IHSAHN may not be at the helm of Emperor or the multitude of side projects that propelled him throughout the 90s any longer but after launching his solo career with 2006’s “The Adversary,” he has shown no sign of ending his ceaseless creative run of albums that takes a little of what came before and mixes in new elements of surprise. ÀMR (an Old Norse word for both “black” and “loathsome”) is IHSAHN’s seventh album and finds him in top form with his now usual roster of heavy progressive metal riffs that harken back to his black metal days as well as the artier side of his Peccatum experience.

While increasing the dosages of experimentalism and avant-garde with every subsequent album starting with his debut, IHSAHN hit a brick wall with 2013’s “Seelenbrechen” which found many tracks escape the confines of metal altogether and conspired to create dark and sinister dark ambient tracks with some of the sickest vocal performances outside of extreme metal. The followup “Arktis” found IHSAHN streamlining his overall sound where he cranked what i would dare call progressive pop infused metal tracks with strong characteristics of his avant-garde progressiveness but tamed a bit with more accessible hooks and conventional songwriting structures.

While never one to jump too far too fast IHSAHN played his cards rather smoothly and added just enough of the easy-to-digest elements that made “Arktis” a much more accessible album than “Seelenbrechen.” ÀMR pretty much continues the trend with a near identical formula that incorporates the near identical ration of elements on “Arktis.” Firstly are the heavier progressive tracks (“Lend Me The Eyes Of Millenia,” “One Less Enemy,” “Arcana Imperii,” “Wake”) that contain the harshest elements of his extreme metal sounds such as the raspy black metal vocals and balls-to-the-wall guitar bombast on steroids with incessant time signature attacks that unapologetically wreak havoc on unsuspecting stereo systems.

In addition are several mid-paced tracks (“Sámr,” “Where You Are Lost And I Belong,” “Twin Black Angels”) that showcase IHSAHN’s mellow and tender side where he displays a much more accomplished range of clean vocals and the tracks rely almost exclusively on melodic hooks with heavier guitar elements only added to generate some heft. Could he even be seeking the next alternative metal hit of some sort? These are the tracks that find IHSAHN deviating the most from his relentless pursuit of everything extreme and experimental that has pretty much dominated his approach up to “Arktis,” which flirted with some of these metal oriented progressive pop tracks but ÀMR makes no false pretenses that these aspects of IHSAHN’s song styles are here to stay.

There are also a couple of tracks (“In Rites Of Passage,” “Marble Soul”) that fit somewhere in between the two extremes presented above. These two tracks implement both styles and alternate between the two with mellow clean vocals styles for the slower segments and the raspy vocals for the heavier driving parts. These tracks (as well as others) mix it up with electronic segments which is another aspect of ÀMR that seems to be developing more on each album, that is the use of retro prog sounding keyboard parts. While restrained as not to go all Opeth on us, the trend is unmistakable as slowly but surely IHSAHN is dedicating at least a segment of his music to turning more progressive rock than metal but these tracks are cleverly sandwiched by the heavy hitters as to avoid a complete derailment in the fanbase’s fickle tastes.

ÀMR was the first IHSAHN album not to completely blow me away upon first listen. Instead i felt like this was an “Arktis II” of sort but this guy’s music is intricate and has an uncanny capacity to grow on me fairly quickly and even though this is probably by far the most accessible of anything he has done in his career with sing-along vocal segments and irresistible pop laden hooks coming out of the woodworks, IHSAHN has a brilliant way of keeping a layer of extremity that makes it so unusual even though the hooks are so utterly seductive. Is this a sign of even more commercial directions being pursued? Well, we’ll have to wait and see but at this point these developments aren’t detrimental to the album’s continuity. Once again IHSAHN has crafted a very well designed slice of progressive metal even if it’s not deviating significantly from what came before. Very much the enjoyable musical endeavor.


Album · 2008 · Progressive Metal
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"angL" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive/extreme metal act Ihsahn and is the successor to "The Adversary (2006)". The album was released through Mnemosyne Productions in May 2008. After Emperor originally disbanded in 2001, Ihsahn (real name Vegard Sverre Tveitan) first collaborated with his wife Ihriel (Real name Heidi Solberg Tveitan) on the avant-garde metal act Peccatum, but in 2006 he opted for a solo career, and thus Ihsahn was born. As the case was on "The Adversary (2006)", Ihsahn handles all guitars and keyboards, and most of the singing on "angL". Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar, Spiral Architect...among others) again handles the drums, and bass and fretless bass are played by Lars K. Norberg (Spiral Architect). Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth makes a lead vocal guest appearance on "Unhealer".

The music on the album continues down the progressive/extreme metal path of "The Adversary (2006)", just better produced, better written, and better performed. Stylistically Ihsahn is still in the same genre as Opeth, and "Unhealer" could almost have been a track by Opeth if I didn´t know better. Ihsahn is not a clone act though and Tveitan still manages to create an original sounding style (despite the obvious references to Opeth). The balance between light and dark, acoustic/distorted guitars, clean/raw snarling vocals, and atmospheric and heavy moods, is something Tveitan masters to perfection. His past in Emperor is not heard often in the music, but the way he uses the swirling neo-classical oriented keyboards, and the occasional blast beat section do lead my thoughts in that direction.

The material on the 9 track (10 tracks on the Japanese edition), 47:22 minutes long album is of a very high quality throughout. Every track is intriguing and memorable, and the quality of the material only drops very few times during the listening experience. Highlights could be "Scarab", "Emancipation", "Unhealer", and "Monolith", but it´s a consistently high quality album which deserves to be listened to from beginning to end.

As mentioned above "angL" is also a very well produced album, performed by very skilled musicians. It´s hard not to praise the inventive drumming by Asgeir Mickelson, but everything on the album is skillfully played. For instance check out the many well played guitar solos and harmony themes. To my ears Tveitan is a bit of a compositional genius too (his classical/symphonic arrangements are also quite clever) and taking all features into consideration "angL" comes of as quite the brilliant release and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

IHSAHN Arktis.

Album · 2016 · Progressive Metal
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"Arktis." is the 6th full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive extreme metal artist Ihsahn. The album was released through Candlelight Records in March 2016. It´s the successor to "Das Seelenbrechen" from 2013. Ihsahn is of course known for his time with groundbreaking Norwegian black metal act Emperor, but his solo career is by now also quite prolific. On "Arktis." Ihsahn handles vocals, bass, guitars, and keyboards, while the drums are played by session drummer Tobias Ørnes Andersen (Shining). Andersen´s bandmate from Shining, Jørgen Munkeby, also makes a guest appearance on saxophone on the track "Crooked Red Line". Matt Heafy (Trivium) and Einar Solberg (Leprous) make a couple of guest vocal appearances. This is still predominantly a solo effort by Ihsahn though, but that´s how it´s been since day one of his solo career.

The material on "Arktis." can overall be described as progressive extreme metal, but it´s always hard to give an adequate description of Ihsahn´s music, because he is so eclectic. The music features loads of progressive rock influences, but also thrash, death, black, and traditional heavy metal influences, as well as some nods toward avant garde and electronic music. It may sound like it could be a messy style mishmash, but Ihsahn is a more skilled composer and performer than most, and he is able to combine his many influences into a well sounding whole.

The material on the 10 track, 48:07 minutes long album are diverse in style and if you think you know what you´re in for after listening to the two opening tracks "Disassembled" and "Mass Darkness", you´re in for a surprise. Ihsahn continues to twist and turn conventions throughout the album, but no track seems out of place or disrupts the flow of the album, and that´s regardless of tracks like "Until I Too Dissolve", "Crooked Red Line", and "Celestial Violence", sticking out quite a bit. The latter is a brilliant and incredibly beautiful epic track, which closes the album, while the saxophone on "Crooked Red Line" makes that track stand out. "Until I Too Dissolve" stands out too as it features a a strong traditional heavy metal riff, which brings Van Halen to mind.

"Arktis." is very well produced. The sound production is clear, powerful, and detailed. It´s a production which brings out the best in the layered and and intricate musical compositions. The musicianship is as always on an incredibly high level. Ihsahn is not only a strong vocalist who can sing both extreme metal vocals and clean vocals with conviction and passion, but also a skilled instrumentalist, who handles all instruments with seamless ease. The guest musicians also bring a lot to the album, to further enhance the listening experience.

Upon conclusion "Arktis." is another high quality release by Ihsahn, where he once more shows the world his musical genius. Fans of progressive extreme metal featuring strong melodic choruses, epic atmospheres, a restrained experimental approach (in other words not overtly avant garde in nature, although still occasionally experimental) and a generally adventurous and diverse approach to songwriting should find a lot to enjoy here. I always recommend fans of Opeth to listen to Ihsahn if they don´t already known him, but in truth Opeth is only a reference because they have a similar progressive songwriting approach and a similar extreme metal meets strong melodic sensibilities way of creating music, because Ihsahn´s music is generally quite an unique listen. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

IHSAHN The Adversary

Album · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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"The Adversary" is the debut full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive extreme metal artist Ihsahn (Real name: Vegard Sverre Tveitan). The album was released through Mnemosyne Productions in April 2006. The former Emperor frontman/guitarist busied himself with the Peccatum project with his wife Ihriel (real name Heidi S. Tveitan) after Emperor disbanded in 2001, but then opted to pursue a solo career and decided to name his solo project after his stage name Ihsahn.

The last couple of Emperor albums were increasingly progressive and less black metal oriented compared to the band´s early material and it became more and more obvious that Ihsahn was the member of the band, who pulled Emperor in that direction. While the other members of Emperor went on to form the death metal act Zyklon, Tveitan maintained his progressive approach to writing music both in Peccatum and in Ihsahn. To call the music on "The Adversary" a continuation of the music on "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise (2001)" (the last Emperor album) is maybe stretching it too far, but some of the progressive elements from the latter mentioned album, have been refined here and put into another context.

Stylistically the music draws on a number of influences and black metal is just one of them. Of course Ihsahn´s raspy vocals will always lead the listener´s thoughts toward black metal, but there are clean vocals on the album too. Mostly sung by Ihsahn but Garm (Real name: Kristoffer Rygg) (Ulver, Borknagar, Arcturus) performs lead vocals on "Homecoming" (which also features Tore Ylwizaker on vocals). Ihsahn create both raw extreme metal parts, epic keyboard heavy parts, beautiful melodic parts and manage to make them work together. The songwriting is very adventurous and it´s obvious Ihsahn has put a lot of thought into creating something unique.

The musicianship is not surprisingly, if you are familiar with any of the output that Ihsahn has been involved in earlier in his career, on a very high level. Other than Garm´s and Tore Ylwizaker´s guest appearances, and the drums which are played by Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar, Spiral Architect, Vintersorg, ICS Vortex, Sarke), Ihsahn plays and sings everything on the album. At times the sound production and especially the drum sound is a bit thin, but it´s rarely a major issue, and overall the sound production (which Ihsahn is also responsible for) is professional and suits the music well.

"The Adversary" is probably an album that for most listeners require more than one spin to sink in (myself included). This is not full speed ahead bang your head type of metal, even though it´s powerful and raw enough when that is needed. The compositions are generally a bit more clever thought out and performed than the material on your average extreme metal release. So that´s what you get when listening to "The Adversary" (and to Ihsahn in general). A challenging, intriguing listen and a 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

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