Emperor frontman and prolific solo artist Ihsahn is a huge fan of The Weeknd's new album Dawn FM. Ihsahn said in an interview with Metal Hammer that he's into a lot of commercial R&B, saying that the genre is "darker and more edgy and more experimental" than a lot of what metal current has to offer.
"It's so heavy. Maybe it's just me being old and grumpy, but there's so much new metal coming out where there's no danger. I listen to a lot of commercial R&B like The Weeknd. That's darker and more edgy and more experimental than most new extreme metal bands, to be honest."
This isn't too surprising, given Ihsahn's past praise of artists like Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas for their general tendency not to care about what the trends are. Ihsahn pointed out then as well that he feels in the current extreme metal scene, artists are simply too concerned about what the "right" thing to do is.
"Yeah, I think that it sounds… The production that Finneas [O'Connell, Billie's brother, producer, and co-writer] does, the minimalism of it, the way it's put together – it's really brave. It's something to…
"If you look at pop artists like that… I think even in the extreme metal scene, there are so many bands concerned with what's the right thing to do. In a music genre that was really based on people not giving an absolute fuck about what people thought about their music – it was rather: go for what not to do."
Even beyond that, you can check out our 2020 interview below with Ihsahn where he talked about why he's surprised more black metal artists aren’t doing more experimental things in music.