Review by Adam M on October 27, 2016.
This Ihsahn album is a return to form for the veteran after a slightly disappointing previous effort in Das Seelenbrechen. It shows him writing less experimental and more to the point songs that ring true of the couple of albums previous to that one. There is still some saxophone usage, but it is held in check by more focused and controlled song-writing.
The most experimental track on here is South Winds and it is a largely successful effort because it is held by a rhythmic backbone of the type that was lacking on his last album. Otherwise, Celestial Violence is a highlight with it’s building crescendo of excellence. The standout tracks on this album are not that highly placed above the remainder of the excellent tracks, however. There is more quality and consistency to be found on this album than the last. The tracks have a memorable aspect that is more akin to the days of Eremita and After. This is because of the aforementioned rhythms. There isn’t an off-kilter, all over the place approach, but simply more focus and drive. The songs seem more normal sounding than the previous work, which is another highlight of the work. There is simply a more palatable approach at hand. Still, I think this album loses a little bit of steam when compared with Eremita or After. There were so many memorable moments on those discs that it’s difficult to recapture the magic and makes the album a slight step down. It’s still another excellent entry to the canon of Ihsahn, but doesn’t have the impact of his best works. The slight taste of disappointment is alleviated by the mostly good song-writing, however.
Arktis. is a solid work that takes ingredients from his best works and puts them into a blender with the icy cold nature of the new songs and creates something compelling.
Rating: 8 out of 10