Enslaved
Mardraum - Beyond the Within


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (278 Reviews)
August 25th, 2012 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Mardraum-Beyond the Within" is both an advancement of the band's early 90's, Black metal inspired era and a good introduction their experimental side, which has proved a success in their career thus far.

Ever since the release of “Isa” Enslaved have been constantly labelled as one of the most promising and exciting bands within the genre of Extreme Progressive metal, and it's certainly no surprise why. Many of those that were introduced to the band may well have been done so via the “Below the Lights” album or any other Enslaved material released after that point, but how many can honestly say they have attempted to find out just where these diverse, progressive styles came from" “Mardraum-Beyond the Within” and “Monumension” are not albums that come to mind when asked just what Enslaved's so-called “turning Point” actually was, and it's a shame, because these releases are far too often overlooked when researching the band's career as a whole.

The former album, “Mardraum-Beyond the Within”, has been described by no other than vocalist and bassist Grutje Kjellson as “the band's ultimate shift in musical styles”. The fact that the album's title refers to the idea of one stepping out their own reality and into another, obscurer one, is not surprising at all, given that many of the band's lyrical content in recent times has depended solely on such themes as transcendence, shifts into other dimensions and spiritual energy. “Mardraum” itself means simply “Nightmare”, but alongside “Beyond the Within” you can tell the band deliberately named this album with that specific title.

Musically speaking, there is little to be queried here. If you're question is “Does this album differ completely from the band's releases within the decade of the 90's"”, the answer is quite plainly “No”. Although there are instances where the band do delve into experimental territory, the majority of “Mardraum...” does rely sorely on Extreme Metal influences, which is most probably why Enslaved are described as an “Extreme” Progressive Metal band, as opposed to just one of “Progressive Metal”. With such aggressive, fast-paced tracks as the hateful “Daudningekvida” (Deadhymn) and equally as menacing “Ormagard” (The Hive), the band unfortunately fail to deliver anything half as interesting as, say, “Isoders Dronning” off the album “Frost” or “793 (Om Slaget Lindisfarne”” off the album “Eld”, simply because their constant Black Metal influences really do seem to mesh songs together, as opposed to making them truly stand out from one another.

The album's true success comes from the band's experimentation however, and whenever you think the band are just about to to continue with their constant Black Metal barrages, the music stops being so aggressive and channels itself into a completely new form of music, often that of a psychedelic or melodic one. An extremely good example of this is the album's instant highlight “Entrance-Escape”. Beginning with a hypnotic, sprawling guitar effect and gradually becoming more and more sinister with its sound, these seven-or-so minutes of Experimental Metal never seem to bore the listener or indeed underwhelm expectations, as is well known of Enslaved's latter musical style. The shifts from fast, rampaging guitar work to melancholic, acoustic guitar leads are definitive evidence that Enslaved were now a band in a world of their own, unable to be copied by anyone else. Even the tense yet eventually hypnotic opener “Storre enn Tid-Tyngre enn Natt” (Larger than Time-Heavier than Night), with it's constant tempo shifts and excellently executed guitar solos (courtesy of no other than Ivar Bjornson), still manages to satisfy the listener's wishes and makes itself instantly memorable, hours after it has been played.

Another important aspect of “Mardraum” is the vocals and voice effects themselves. This is most evident on the album's title track, in which the screaming voices and creepy narrative work contribute brilliantly to the concept of the song itself. “Nightmare” is a word that often arises in psychological themes and dealings with the sub-/unconscious, and listening to this track you can almost feel as if you're being pulled into a nightmare with the sprawling guitar work and haunting sound effects. That's basically how much work Enslaved had put into this album when crafting its very soul. Even when the clean vocals come in to cleverly compliment the harsher vocals, they are done so with such elegance and beauty that its hard to be amazed by their true talent. Even more interesting is the fact that this is one of the first Enslaved albums wherein each and every member of the band sing together, almost like a choir, flowing well with the harsh, grunted vocals all the time.

It's important to note that “Mardraum-Beyond the Within” is not entirely an Extreme Progressive Metal album, and one can understand this clearly when listening to the albums a whole, especially taking into account that the production is indifferent to that of the “Eld” or “Blodhemn” albums. Even the likes of the epic “Krigaren eg Ikkye Kjende” (Warrior unknown) or the insane “Det endelege Riket” (The ending Empire) have some essence of raw Black Metal to their sound, and although that may be down to the album's slightly fuzzy production, it still pays a slight homage to the band's earlier sound. However, this may be what annoys some when listening to “Mardraum...” as a whole-the fact that when the band use Black Metal influences to their full effect, they really don't seem to be different in any way compared to other Norwegian Black Metal bands. Thankfully, this is saved by the band's clever use of strange sound effects and clever experimentation.

It's a shame that “Mardraum-Beyond the Within” is often overlooked by fans of the band who were introduced via “Isa” or even “Below the Lights”, yet musically the album is both a decent mixture of the band's earlier, more aggressive sound and their experimental touches. I say “decent”, because the album is not in any way a flawless one, but it is certainly a good place to start if you are wondering why Enslaved sound the way they do today, in 2012.



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user ratings (206)
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3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-beyond-within/

Digging: Numenorean - Adore

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Above is a link to a documentary called "The beyond Within", which explores the idea of falling into subconscious and unconscious states, whilst also discovering just what Nightmares and dreams may be caused by.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Here's some recommendations:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YauulSQmzJ0&feature=related



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tug7xmz4Su8

FictionalFlames
August 25th 2012


1528 Comments


Lol I was wondering if I should write a review for this yesterday. Glad to see someone else pulled it off instead.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is the only Enslaved album without a review so I thought I'd just fill in.

Wizard
August 25th 2012


20209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nicely detailed review of this album. They've never put out a shit album.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No I don't believe they have-Thanks.

glezz
August 26th 2012


235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Their best album, by a long shot.

BodomThrashMachine
August 26th 2012


316 Comments


^ axioma ethica odini says hi bro

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 26th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wouldn't say it's their best, 'Axioma Ethica odini' is their best for me.

Lambda
August 26th 2012


2654 Comments


Finally a review for this!

glezz
August 26th 2012


235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Their best album. Better than Axioma Ethica odini.



A 5.

Axioma 4.5

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2012


8285 Comments


Good call for the review.

I find this album to be close to Below The Lights.

Easily above 3.5/5.

Digging: Veiled (DE) - In Blinding Presence

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 26th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The reason why I gave this a 3.5 was mainly because of the production and the more aggressive tracks, which didn't really stand out to me as 'Entrance-Escape' or the opening song. I do like 'Below the Lights' though, that album really shows the band's true talents.

glezz
August 27th 2012


235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"The more aggressive tracks didn't really stand out..."



WTF!? This is MARDRAUM! Go listen to it about 5 more times, maybe at least once with good headphones or at least a killer system.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Systemunfolded-What do you mean by a 'Novel'?



@glezz-I know what album this isXD I've listened to it plenty of times and I still stand by that statement. I said they didn't stand out as much as the more experimental songs in 'Entrance-Escape' and 'Større enn Tid - Tyngre enn Natt'.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2012


8285 Comments


The reason why I gave this a 3.5 was mainly because of the production and the more aggressive tracks,which didn't really stand out

I wrote my previous message from an ancient cell phone while being on vacation and I didn't quite get through..

What I wanted to write was that this album is easily between 3.5-4.0.

The production is nearly flawless, I can't really tell what bothered you, whereas the aggressive tracks are what great death/black metal is all about.

On another note, the band's musicianship rests at really high levels.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2012


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know that the aggressive tracks are what great death/black metal is all about, but when they are put into the same album that has such experimental numbers as 'Entrance-Escape', the title track and the first song, it seems almost like a mixed bag. I'm not saying that I don't like the more aggressive songs, I'm just simply saying that they don't stand out to me as well as the more experimental songs. As for the band's musicianship, I totally agree with you.

Hawks
August 27th 2012


69293 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Their best album, by a long shot.


Not even close.

Digging: Hecate Enthroned - Embrace Of The Godless Aeon

Tyrael
August 27th 2012


21113 Comments


Hawks:

posted in a black metal thread

left no survivors



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