Shapeshifting progressive metal pioneer IHSAHN has once again pushed the boundaries of unconstrained creation, with the release of his striking single/video tribute to Norwegian pop pioneers A-ha. "Manhattan Skyline" is taken from his new EP Pharos, out September 11 on Candlelight Records, and features the phenomenal vocal talents of Einar Solberg (Leprous).
"Manhattan Skyline" was originally released in 1986 by A-ha and reached number 13 in the UK Singles Chart. With a refresh for 2020 IHSAHN has produced a delicate but true-to-the-original tribute, combining a soft ballad-like verse that explodes into a bombastic rock chorus featuring all of the melodramatic grandeur of the original.
Directed and filmed by Troll Toftenes, the video sees IHSAHN at his most passionate and embracing. With the breath-taking landscape of Norway as the backdrop, IHSAHN plays his Aristides T/0 Lilac Pearl Satin Guitar atop Gaustatoppen, the highest mountain in Norway, at sunset whilst Einar Solberg's (Leprous) earnest and emotional vocals soar to other worldly levels of brilliance. The spectacle never relinquishes its hold on the viewer.
IHSAHN admits that his love of A-ha is not new, revealing: “There are some hints of A-HA even on the second Emperor album!” This may frustrate followers of the orthodoxy present within extreme music, but for IHSAHN, he has never worried about being confined to certain expectations.
“I never wanted to be as one-dimensional as this black metal image. When I turned 40, I stopped caring but if you start out playing black metal when you're 16, it's hardly because you want to be everybody's favourite.”
Pharos is another triumph for one of the proud initiators of black metal; this polymathic composer, who has already leant his iconoclastic spirit to rule-breaking bands and projects, has yet again woven intricate, sonic landscapes that cement his status as a true musical alchemist.
The light to Telemark’s dark, Pharos features three original compositions and two covers; a delicate but true-to-the-original version of "Manhattan Skyline" by Norway’s own pop progenitors A-ha (featuring LEPROUS frontman Einar Solberg on vocal duties) and the haunting "Roads", originally by British trip-hop collective Portishead.
2. Spectre At The Feast
4. Roads (Portishead)
5. Manhattan Skyline (A-Ha)*
*featuring Einar Solberg of Leprous