Enslaved
E


4.0
excellent

Review

by My Name Is Mud USER (18 Reviews)
January 24th, 2018 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As beguiling as ever.

It would be safe to safe to say that the last decade or so has been the most productive years for Enslaved since their inception. Ever since 2008’s Vertebrae, it was evident that the Norwegians were striving for something a little more epic and grandiose. To further support this notion, 2011’s Axioma Ethica Odini propelled the band forward into more progressive territory, whilst still retaining their somewhat melodic black metal roots. From here on in, Enslaved seemed to be onto something rather special. Album after album, everything the band released seemed to be resonating with fans and critics alike, further strengthening their consistency and pedigree within the underground metal scene. When E was announced earlier in 2017 to rapturous applause, it seemed as if everything was set for another smash hit for the band and yet another grand opportunity to experiment.

E is certainly a record that requires patience. Almost every track present features repeated grooves, periods of vacant instrumentation and elongated song structures. Although these aforementioned features are nothing alien to Enslaved, E tends to focus on these traits a little more than previous outings. Opener, ‘Storm Son’, is a perfect example of this; with a beautiful, esoteric intro lasting a few minutes before the backing instrumentation is incorporated into the fold. Although this intro can seem insipid on paper, as soon as the guitars etc. hit the track takes form rather spectacularly. New vocalist/keyboardist, Hakon Vinje, also shows his worth instantly, gracefully crooning over the angelic instrumentation to further strengthen the celestial atmosphere.

Whilst the record may seem like a tame journey from its opening number, Enslaved display that they still have plenty of firepower to support their progressive tendencies. ‘Axis of the Worlds’ is primarily a tour de force throughout its near 10 minute runtime. Long time vocalist, Grutle, particularly shines on the track, growing in intensity from verse to verse as the song increases its tight grip on the listener. Secondary single, ‘The Rivers Mouth’, also displays an emphasis on a more riff driven sound. However, what is quite unusual about this track is its rather short length and open accessibility. With an almost Mastodon-esque cleanly sung chorus, the track somehow manages to meld an attainable structure whilst still retaining that trademark Enslaved aura.

Throughout its runtime, E definitely focuses more on melodic sensibilities within most of its song progressions. ‘Feathers of Eolh’ displays the band stripping down their black metal aesthetic completely to make way for a complete overhaul of clean vocals by Vinje. In a rather ambitious move, Vinje manages to make the track his own quite brilliantly, constantly engaging the listener with his soaring vocals that glide effortlessly above the bright backing instrumentation. Closer, ‘Hiindsiight’, pushes Enslaved even farther into the realms of progressive sounds. Guest instrumentalist, Kjetil Moster, features on the track with a much unexpected saxophone solo. In spite of this experimentation, the decision to include said segment feels like the only time the band drops the proverbial ball throughout the record. The abrupt nature of this section feels relatively tacked on and only serves to end the record on a slightly confusing note.

Despite this, E still comes through with flying colours. Whereas most of Enslaved’s recent outings have featured many progressive tendencies, E constantly thrives to improve on its predecessors notions. Remarkable flow and expert song craft keep the record from becoming stale in its more quiet moments and considerably more hard hitting in its heavier segments. Furthermore, E certainly hints at an unpredictable future for the Norwegian outfit. With new life being brought into the group by Vinje, it seems anything is possible for the band in the years to come. For now, however, Enslaved continue to impress with their ever changing musical palette and manage to deliver the goods once again.



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user ratings (365)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Lord Pork (4)
With album 14, Enslaved prove they are still titans in the world of metal....



Comments:Add a Comment 
BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been jamming this so much recently.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2018


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Another one for the list, solid review : ]

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man, definitely czech this out.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2018


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also pretty sure this is a ‘17 release?

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is dude.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2018


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some glitch in the dates then, other review for the album has the right date. This says 2018 on this page

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Huh, says 2017 on mine.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2018


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dunno, it is over here lol.

Anyway moving on :]

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha the site hasn't been very stable the past week.

BlackwaterPork
January 24th 2018


4390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review pleb, pos

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers man.

TundraL5Z
January 24th 2018


5335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wasn't as fond on it as others but still very good

Digging: Alustrium - Insurmountable

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Band is on a hot streak, for sure.

TundraL5Z
January 24th 2018


5335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pos'd on the review btw, my good pleb/man

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks tundra!

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its kinda annoying how the italic E leans into the other words haha.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2018


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Better than uncapitalised album titles, they just look weird

teamster
January 24th 2018


5239 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh nice, I just listened to this for the first time, today, in my car. It sounds like Enslaved, but doesn't. Hiindsiight is my favorite song. Excellent review and thanks.

BigPleb
January 24th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It definitely feels quite fresh for the band whilst still remaining totally familiar.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2018


15280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The album grew on me.



Nice review man.

Digging: Akhlys - Melino



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