Art of Shredding: Ihsahn

Originally published in Guitar World, December 2010

The Norwegian black metal legend gives his thoughts on shred guitar.

For flat-out, unapologetic soloing, who blows your mind?


What album/song inspired you to play fast?

King Diamond's Them made a big impression on me. Andy LaRoque is one of my favorite players.

What helped you progress dramatically as a guitarist?

The tab book for Iron Maiden's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, combined with the album—on vinyl, of course. And an empty house.

What was your biggest technical hurdle?

Staccato runs.

What key performance in your discography is a successful example of what you try to achieve?

"On the Shores" from my last album, After, is a good example, even though there is nothing close to shredding in it. It has few and rather simple riffs, but with a dynamic structure throughout.

Is shredding a good thing?

Shredding as a means of getting serious with your playing and musical development is a good thing, but too much focus on technique and speed can be musically limiting.

What are you currently working on, and what is your goal as a player?

I'm finishing the festival season at the moment, and throughout it I guess the goal has been a tight live performance from the whole band. Also, my wife and I are running a production company and studio, so in between gigs we've been recording a promising young act called Ørkenkjøtt.

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