Week Four starts with Ihsahn's ineffable Arktis, and with it the bar is set very, very high. The emotions here range from quirky and clever to utterly epic, the musicianship and production fairly flawless. There are some missteps here, but even when not on sure footing, you've gotta give props to Ihsahn to taking huge swings with this, perhaps the most truly progressive metal album of 2016.
Don't get me wrong; the Oranssi Pazuzu is hella compelling. Värähtelijä is like my favorite parts of doom, drone, and noise blended together. It's not always pretty, but these ponderous tracks never fail to enthrall. This album got some notice this year, but not as much as it deserves. Alas, OP were just outmaneuvered today by the more ambitious work on Arktis.
Tomorrow, Painted Wives and Vektor compete for the chance to derail Ihsahn's journey toward the center.