Review Summary: Vikings discover a time portal and transport themselves to Pink Floyd’s heyday.
As silly a thought as this may seem, Enslaved have done just that with Monumension
; an amalgamation of their past with a taste for experimentation that follows suit to those psychedelic passages that Pink Floyd capitalized on with some of their best albums to date. Monumension
is almost a lot like the movie ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ in a way. No, it’s not about being “Most excellent to each other” or any of that surfboard garbage that most people passed the movie off as. Monumension
relates more to the underlying values of the movie. Bill and Ted need to complete a history project to pass through their school studies and set about on an adventure, going through time to collect some of histories most prestige figures (Socrates, Napoleon, Joan of Arc etc.) to really impress their teachers with one of grandest history projects ever presented. However, trouble begins in the movie when these historical figures are brought into the present and how they have to cope with being a minority in the times of the late 80s. The theme perfectly relates to the situation that Enslaved sits with in the new millennium. Instead of following the rest of the black metal pack straight out of Norway, Enslaved have chosen to become the minority and transport themselves into the future with a new sound full of progressive measures and long passages of psychedelic trance.
is a real step up from the bludgeoning force that was Blodhemn
. A lot of the insane blackened Viking metal is still ever so present but contrasts sharply with the bands need to experiment. One could argue that Enslaved began hinting at this new sound with Eld
and it may be true to some extent. However, the huge direction they have taken with their obsession for Pink Floyd and other 70s progressive acts wasn’t fully utilized until this album. ‘Hollow Inside’ showcases this harsh contrast in sound; beginning with a sweet la-de-da, trance like melody followed by a massive chorus of lumbering power chords and finished off with the intro melody and a Peter Frampton synthesized voice touch. ‘The Sleep: Floating Diversity – A Monument Part III’ is obviously the albums centre piece as it runs strong on the long passages of psychedelic bliss, incorporating strong organ melodies alongside memorable rockish/ metal riffs, echoey vocals and clean picked guitar lines, and foot stomping power chords that showcase Enslaved’ most experimental song to date. For fans of the past albums, there is plenty to be found on here. Full throttle ‘Vision: Sphere Of The Elements – A Monument Part II’ and ‘Enemy I’ are Enslaved are at their metal best when they feel like spilling their black metal roots. Lead singer Grutle Kjellson has also come along way with his singing capabilities, only enhancing the songs melodies with a powerful voice and a soft touch to accent the clean passages perfectly. The only drawback to this fine album is that the songs can become bogged down with length, sending the listener too far off into left field with their excursions into Pink Floyd land.
serves as the blueprint for Enslaved’ future sound that would only tighten up with each predecessor album. Every band has to start somewhere down the road to becoming the minority in the metal world. That is what Enslaved has done right here. Purist fans of their past efforts will probably treat this as the album that Enslaved sold out their sound on. Their ignorance will only hurt them from seeing the true power that metal can have when it incorporates sharp contrasts into an already tight formula. Monumension
may be a touch too long in some of its experimentations. Fortunately, it has shown to serve the band better in the present, setting themselves apart from the hordes of black metal bands; a genre full of elitists that don’t give a damn about progression. Thank the mighty Norse Gods that we have bands like Enslaved to guide us into Valhalla.