Shapeshifting progressive metal pioneer IHSAHN has once again pushed the boundaries of unconstrained creation — this time with the release of his striking single/video tribute to Norwegian pop pioneers A-HA.
He has shared the video for his cover of the band’s “Manhattan Skyline,” which appears on his new EP, Pharos, out September 11 via Candlelight Records. The version features the phenomenal vocal talents of Einar Solberg of Leprous.
“Manhattan Skyline” was originally released by A-HA in 1986 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 the melodramatic grandeur of the original.
Directed and filmed by Troll Toftenes, the video sees IHSAHN at his most passionate. With the breathtaking 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 while Solberg’s earnest and emotional vocals soar to otherworldly levels of brilliance.
IHSAHN admits that his love of A-HA is not new, saying, “There are some hints of A-HA even on the second Emperor album!”
This revelation 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 [with] this black metal image,” the artist explains. “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 favorite.”