Ihsahn is now a full decade into his solo career with his sixth full length effort, Arktis, arriving this Friday (April 8). With the songs "Mass Darkness" and "Pressure" serving as the first taste of new music, the next comes by way of the moody album closer, "Celestial Violence." The song varies drastically from both previously released tracks and once again demonstrates Ihsahn's brilliant versatility and masterful composition skills.

"Celestial Violence" opens softly with a gentle piano melody and soothing clean vocals with a clever and beautiful delivery. The slightly melancholic bend is quickly erased with the thunderous clamoring of cymbal strikes and melodic noodling underneath the aggressive rhythm. Ihsahn's signature shriek is on display, but as quickly as it came, this moment is gone once again returning to the piano melody. The bass line picks up the tempo as drummer Tobias Ørnes Andersen's stick dances on the ride cymbal with pointed intent. Einar Solberg of Leprous (Ihsahn's former backing band) lends his impassioned voice to the track, trading off with the mastermind's aforementioned shrieks, forging beauty with brawn.

As a standalone track, "Celestial Violence" displays the range of moods Ihsahn is capable of evoking, but as with all his solo work, each song is typically even stronger when listened in context of the full album as the subtle details of his work come to light with repeated listens.

Ihsahn reactivated Emperor for a second time in 2013 since disbanding the seminal black metal outfit in 2001. The reunion came as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the band's landmark debut, In the Nightside Eclipse, and even saw the return of original drummer Faust. When asked by Metal Wani (interview below) what it would take for him and former Emperor guitarist Samoth to write a new record under the moniker, Ihsahn responded, "Well, that's the thing. I mean, I know people… Of course, I get that [question] a lot. But I don't know, really, if people know what they're asking for. Because, basically, I ended up writing the last Emperor album on my own; I was kind of bound in this direction of going it alone. So if it was up to me alone, Emperor would sound [like my solo material]; this is how I write metal [and] this is my direction."

Furthering the notion, he added, "I know Samoth is releasing a new the Wretched End record very soon as well, and I think it's very obvious that, musically, we are very far apart. So if people want a new Emperor record, what would they expect? They expect us to write music as if we were teenagers. So it's kind of a… you can't really win. At this point, I think it just would be absolutely pointless, because regardless of what route we would take and what would feel natural, if we were to do that, it would be… I think either way it would be a disappointment, because it's kind of just part of an illusion. And I see absolutely no point in doing that."

Ihsahn, "Celestial Violence"

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