01. Thoughts Like Hammers
02. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn
03. Veilburner
04. Roots Of The Mountain
05. Riitiir
06. Materal
07. Storm Of Memories
08. Forsaken

Grutle Kjellson – vocals, bass
Ivar Bjørnson – guitar, vocals
Arve "Ice Dale" Isdal – guitar
Cato Bekkevold – drums
Herbrand Larsen – keyboards, vocals

Vikingligr Veldi (1994)
Frost (1994)
Eld (1997)
Blodhemn (1998)
Mardraum – Beyond the Within (2000)
Monumension (2001)
Below the Lights (2003)
Isa (2004)
Ruun (2006)
Vertebrae (2008)
Axioma Ethica Odini (2010)

XIVer Sandøy - Bass (additional), Effects, Percussion

Recorded in Bergen, Norway at Duper Studios, Earshot Studios, Solslottet Studios, and Peersonal Sound.
Truls Espedal - Artwork, Layout
Randi Ueland - Layout
Arve Isdal - Engineering
Iver Sandøy - Producer, Engineering
Grutle Kjellson - Producer, Lyrics, Design concept
Ivar Bjørnson - Producer, Engineering, Music, Lyrics, Design concept
Herbrand Larsen - Producer, Engineering
Tony Lindgren - Mastering
Jens Bogren - Mixing
Mirjam O. Vikingstad - Photography (band)

Released 28/9-2012
Reviewed 13/11-2012

nuclear blast

Enslaved is a well know norwegian band which is both well regarded amongst fans and critics and they are now back with a new album which is if I am not misinformed their twelfth album. They have been around for a while and for a layperson they have been going down the same route as Dimmu Borgir by expanding their musical approach and in the end they have reached an appeal for many more bands than their fellow norwegian black metal lunatics. They usually tend to get very good reviews and that seems to ring quite true when checking them out, that is of course missing to count this album which has several not so positive reviews and this is mainly due to my own sworn enemy, the playing time. Many reviewers have liked the album as a musical thing but thinks the songs are too long and the album as a whole is so as well with over five of the eight tracks reaching beyond eight minutes and the entire album plays for well over the hour, that requires something extra in terms of quality (or patience).

Enslaved really tries to provide that with large compositions with a sense of adventure in the icy winter forests around the norwegian fiords. More dramatic than heavy and the vocals are intermixed between the clean and aggressive vocals in a way that makes them almost melt together at times. Neither the clean or the growled vocals are particularly good but the way they are used here they work perfectly for the musical stylings. The album is fairly varied and it is brilliantly produced giving for the style a just perfect soundscape, you get the sense that these guys really know what they are doing.

Some idiot once said about a review of mine that an album cannot be too long if it is good, that is a truth that doesn’t quite hold up because several good albums are ruined by being too long as music is only good for as long as it keeps you interested and even the best music will eventually stop being interesting (the trick for the artist is to end the album before that happens). And this is the main problem with this album, it is too long not just the album itself but several of the songs feels a bit like a never ending story which is a shame as this is probably the best black metal album I have ever heard in many regards but it ends up not being focused enough and in the end it feels a bit vague and slightly disappointing while still leaving you with this good feeling after hearing the high quality work that they can do. So a bit of a two-faced album this one, on one hand it is great but on the other hand it just does not manage to keep you interested for the entire duration of it, which is a whopping 67 minutes which in this case is way too long. I think there is a lot of unnecessary excess fat that could have been cut off the songs on this album, maybe around 30 second to a minute of each songs and we would have something that probably would have been close to absolutely amazing.

I think that the opener is the best of the album, a fantastically strong black metal piece that will entertain even the most annoying of people. It is long but it works even though I think you could trim that song as well. And with that I seem to join the ranks of crusaders that thinks this album is really good but it is too long which is a bit of a letdown and it is a shame because there is just so much greatness going on in this album but unfortunately there will not be many times that I actually will feel up to listening through the entire album. I think that you can state that the unnecessarily long playing time will act as a sort of barrier that will most likely stop me from playing this album again despite the great stuff on it.



Label: Nuclear Blast/Warner
Three similar bands: Dimmu Borgir/Darkthrone/Borknagar
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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