Enslaved
Isa


5.0
classic

Review

by Seth T. White (Cravinov13) USER (61 Reviews)
May 4th, 2006 | 118 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


Enslaved is a progressive black metal band from Norway, and has delivered some extremely impressive work as of late. With their 2005 effort, Isa, Enslaved take black metal to new heights of both atmosphere and progressive genius. Givin the deserving title as one of their best releases, the band just recently released their new album, Ruun, which is said to also be another 5 star classic effort (according to Revolver and a few other review sites and magazines). With dark, atmospheric sounds, heavy blast beats, melodic interludes, and shrieking black metal screams, Enslaved have established themselves as behemoths to the black metal genre.

The album begins with Intro: Green Reflection, which is fueled with 51 seconds of dark ambiance and random quirks before leading into Lunar Force. Lunar Force begins with 'atomic clock' riffs and punishing drum and bass lines followed by the vocalists enchanting screams. The song has a very straight foreword yet progressive structure. The song slows down a few notches during the middle marker, before picking back up. Definitely one of the most dynamic songs on the album. The next track, Isa, starts slowly, but picks up quickly with catchy, dark riffs. The song is the first to use clean vocals, which sound very different and unique from most black metal bands (meaning not a dark opera like voice, but a more softer, less dynamic clean voice). After a track like Lunar Force, Isa stands short, but only in length. Another positive highlight on the CD.

Usension begins with a slowly ascending, atmospheric keyboard riff, before blasting into heavy, moody guitar licks and chanting vocals. The song is much like Lunar Force but at a slower pace, and contains some more straight forward, darker guitar work. By this point I might as well forewarn that I there is only one track (disregarding the into and outro) that isn't a major standout on this album, and it's not this track. Bounded By Allegiance is probably the most roughest track on the album, with several choppy guitar riffs at the beginning, the song picks up quickly into one of the best guitar tracks on the album. Next is Violet Dawning, which has very screechy guitar sounds at the beginning, followed by some wicked drum lines and blast beats. A tad weaker then the previous tracks, the song is still a great black metal song in one of its more unpure forms.

Return To Yggdrsill follows, being the most doomy sounding track on the album, it also has some of the best vocal work and lyrics on the album. Probably the second best if not first best on the album. Secrets Of The Flesh starts off with a rhythmic drum intro, and is (for the most part) just a musical piece, with mainly just random growls and screams spread throughout the song. Musically a great song, but the only non-standout on the album. If Return To Yggdrsill isn't the best track on the album, then the 12 minute epic Neogenesis is. Starting with scratchy guitar riffs and mellow clean vocals, the song is melodic black metal in it�s most epic proportions. Containing some amazing guitar riffs and symphonic elements, the song is the one definition of Enslaved's sound, powerful. The only downside to this song is when it ends, bleeding into Outro: Communication, which is 56 seconds of dark operatic keyboards and ambiance, ending on of the greatest and epical black metal albums I have ever heard.

Pros
-- Great production quality
-- Outstanding musicianship and vocals
-- Atmospheric and epic black metal
-- Great lyrics
-- Really leaves a mark on its listener

Cons
-- It's hard to find in stores
-- May take one or two listens to really get a hold of you

Track Listing
1. Intro: Green Reflection (N/A)
2. Lunar Force (5/5)
3. Isa (5/5)
4. Usension (5/5)
5. Bounded By Allegiance (4.5/5)
6. Violet Dawning (5/5)
7. Return To Yggdrsill (5/5)
8. Secrets Of The Flesh (4.5/5)
9. Neogenesis (5/5)
10. Outro: Communication (N/A)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Two-Headed Boy
May 4th 2006


4527 Comments


What exactly is black metal? Just askin'.

Cravinov13
May 4th 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Black metal is a style of heavy metal that usually has high pitched screechs/
screaming, fast guitar work, usually satanic/ pagan/ occult lyrics, thick and dark
atmospheres, can be very symphonic or very dense, ususes electronic keyboards
alomost always, and has a less focus on dynamic rhythm.This Message Edited On 05.04.06

Thor
May 4th 2006


10202 Comments


Nice to see you're back with another review. It's good, but I'm not so sure than one single album can have that many 5/5's on it.

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

Cravinov13
May 4th 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I will admit I'm kinda fanboyish on this band. But its' hard to find anything wrong with these songs.

Silenius
May 4th 2006


305 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Most BM doesn't use keys for the record.


Okay cd, I've never really gotten into it though. :-/This Message Edited On 05.04.06

the2stranger
May 5th 2006


130 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Silenius is right.

Anyways; this is a good cd, I enjoy playing it occasionally.

good review

TheDevilsOwn
May 5th 2006


91 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love black metal. But your right, they usually don't have keyboards, but a lot of the good ones do. I agree completly with this review, this is an epic album. This is one of my favorite black metal albums. I kinda liek Frost more though, but by just a tad.

bball_1523
May 5th 2006


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

enslaved is a great band, they remind me a lot of Opeth with the mixture of clean and growling vocals, and atmospheric riffwork along with soft passages.

I would say their music is not black metal by definition because it has no satanic references and they even claimed in a recent Metal magazine not to be labeled as black metal but more experimental metal. I usually don't like black metal, but if these guys are considered black metal, then they might be the only black metal band I like. lol

Anyways, I think the music is very dark and depressing, yet powerful and beautiful. Isa has this really dark and depressing interlude, and it really makes the song stand out!This Message Edited On 05.05.06

Silenius
May 5th 2006


305 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

BTW enslaved are norwegian.

Cravinov13
May 5th 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

OH! You're right! I must of been thinking of Dissection when I typed that and didn't
realize! Thanks.This Message Edited On 05.06.06

Blakout
May 6th 2006


48 Comments


Good review, great band. I only have Below the Lights and RUUN, but I love them both. I should probably check this one out sometime.

Wave.Existance.Tears
June 21st 2006


72 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Anyways, I think the music is very dark and depressing, yet powerful and beautiful."
Don't think of first-wave black metal. Thats basically whats being described here. 1st wave, pure f***ing BM. Most of which is useless...outside of Ulver (of course.), Burzum, and Emperor (if you consider this 1st wave. Im not sure...). Outside of that, bands started to experiment, make the genre more passionate and/or musical. Needless to say, the satanism was thrown out lyrically in many occasions: hate and anger were expanded into other fields (a good thing, in my opinion).
If you do this to the genre, you are left with the foundation of it, but with broadened horizons....hence, that quote will still apply. But its still black metal in a sense.
Another generation of it, that is. The one who dared to experiment with the work of their forefathers...

That being said, this album definately has a black metal influence in the guitar work, the vocal work, the atmosphere (in a sense), etc.

But also, one must consider that this band comes from the viking branch (look at previous albums.) This influences the mood and music as well, perhaps some of the lyrics (war, kingdoms, hatred and vengence, usually due to betrayal >>if I remember correctly.>>) which are actually well-written last time I checked.

Genre? Do that yourself, I handed out the tools.

Album? Good. Its grown on me a lot. I would give it a solid 4...

poohbearkillskittens
August 1st 2006


1 Comments


I was just wondering what "Isa" means?

Nice review x)

Cravinov13
August 1st 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^^ I have no idea, it something Norwegian maybe?

Dancin' Man
August 1st 2006


719 Comments


Always my favorite Enslaved album.

canadapantsman
August 6th 2006


236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of my favorite albums, i just wish they cut out the track right before Neogenesis...

Cravinov13
August 7th 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think the musical track is kick ass.

"Freshly Baked"
October 5th 2006


583 Comments


VIKING METAL FTW!!!

I plan to listen to this.

Apocalypticon
November 23rd 2006


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is my favourite Enslaved album. Good review to accompany it.

Wizard
December 2nd 2006


19640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow, I just picked this up yesterday. Amazing is all I can say! Neogenisis is simply the best track ever by these guys. A short and soild review too!

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages



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