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(17 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • ENSLAVED – Isa
    Continuing in the steps of `Below the Lights’, Enslaved return with another progressive, black-metal masterpiece. Seldom do I do play by play of the tracks, but this album more then deserves and accurate description.

    After the opening intro the album launches into Lunar Force, a song with trance-inducing guitar riffs, precise drumming and subtle piano with tortured screams adding the sense of urgency… The song gracefully progresses to the five minute mark then is followed by about 40 seconds of eerie synth feedback, then slams aggressively back into the opening riff then fades out with some beautiful piano patterns.
    The title track, Isa has a similar hypnotic guitar pattern, yet this time blending the screams with some clean channel vocals… A very passionate track for being a little over 3:30.
    Ascension opens with some odd ambience and by the 1:15 mark sounds like King Crimson has gone Black Metal. (I believe I even heard some tambourine…) Singing is strong in this track, sounding at times almost like Mike Patton from the darker FNM days.
    Bounded by Allegiance opens brilliantly with organ, chugging guitars, and building drum beat. The 2 minute intro flows into a subtle softer part before unleashing some older influenced melodic, black metal. This song continually progresses with lots of variations (Both faster and slower) throughout this track and even throws a classic prog guitar solo to close out this track.
    Violent Dawning is a furious track, likely the most consistently fast track on the album. It showcases some really nice drum work, both kickers and his symbol work. Also for being such an aggressive track they do not forget the dark melodic beauty… The last 0:40 with the haunting vocals and keys sounds amazing. (One of the most moving parts on the album…)
    Enslaved is has a knack at grabbing your attention right from the get-go, Track 7, Return to Yggdrasil, is no exception. Opening with powerful riffs and venomous vocals, however by one minute into the song it has quickly unfolded into dark majestic beauty. Overall a very beautiful track…
    Secrets of the Flesh opens with a very progressive rock sounding riff with what sounds like wind blowing (Creates a really cool atmosphere…) This riff builds for the majority of this track, staying instrumental throughout the 3:40.
    The 12 minute Reogenesis is the magnum opus of the album, opening with some softer beauty before going into a powerful, old-school BM riff. This songs flows and builds throughout the entire 12 minutes… showing as much beauty as brutality and is filled with some great guitar work… This fades into the outro track which is just shy of one minute.

    Amazing Album from start to finish easily on of the Top Metal Releases in 2005 (looks like I will have to update my Best of 2005 list)
    Though Black-Metal is a genre I’m really just beginning to explore I can tell you that this CD is so much more… At times reminding me of Amorphis or maybe even Katatonia. Also, they are comparable to the genre-bending Opeth, though they really sound nothing alike.

    Just some food for thought but I wonder if they could get Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree) to produce their next album.
    [Actually I just read the other day they just completed recording their latest album which I believe is going to be called `Ruun' which I think is coming out in May?]

    Favorite Songs: Violent Dawning, Ascension, Lunar Force and Reogenesis
    -5 Star

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    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Amazing, as expected. This thing needs more reviews! I was sort of hoping for this progressive procession coming from “Below the Lights”, which is also an amazing progressive-black metal masterpiece. “Isa” being slightly different from “Below…” has still taken a step forward in a progressive sense. It’s hard to imagine that this bleak repetitive genre (black metal-which is what it’s known & loved for) can be hypnotic and droning, yet this album still provide the listener with a sense of “moving forward”. I don’t know of any other band off the top of my head who can pull that off. Enslaved defintely have this style signatured, and props to them for that!

    Other notes: Abbath and Nocturno Culto appear on this album to lay down some raunchy vocals! Sounds great. Keyboards weave in and out of the foreground during most of the songs, bringing you in and out of vision (what you’re concentrating on in the song). One second you’re focusing on the guitars, then the astral atmosphere carries you away from it, then back in. Extremely well recorded and produced. Bleak AND Progressive…chew on that for a while. Then go buy this album.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • If Swervedriver made black metal, it might sound like this. Whether or not British shoegazers influenced Enslaved, the note choices, harmonies, and sonic density here recall “Mezcal Head.” While standard black metal elements are present, such as double bass drums, keyboards, and the occasional shrieking vocal, Enslaved has carved out its own unique, abstract sound. Curiously, the album is never really heavy, fast, or evil. Riffs chug along with the aforementioned shoegazer vibe, punctuated by well-placed clean vocals. The twists and turns that do occur are organic and natural, suggesting a `70’s prog-rock influence; in terms of prog to rock ratio, Voivod comes to mind. This is not the most immediate listen, but repeated spins reveal a rich, masterful complexity.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Enslaved has truly done it again. There are influences here from nearly every style of metal (read: Metal, not the s**t on the radio) in history, and plenty of innovation and technical mastery to propel this album into history.

    The “tr00″ and “kvlt” crowd is going to hate this. But then again, Isa is not for you – go listen to Det Som Engang Var, on repeat, for the rest of your life, since that’s exactly what all the cookie-cutter “kvlt” bands are trying to sound like anyway.

    For people who are ready to step out of 1994, Enslaved has crafted here for you an epic slab of forward-thinking metal that holds to its roots yet reaches out in several different directions, all without ever feeling stale or sacrificing their trademark songwriting excellence.

    Just make sure you give it several listens before you try to sort it out in your head – it may sound a little more accessible than their prior work, but it’s also more complex than any of their albums to date.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Ah, the new Enslaved album is finally here and was well worth the wait! All I have to say about this album is that Enslaved have furthered their progressive take on black metal, adding yet even more melody and clean vocals and creating near perfection. It’s really quite amazing how Enslaved have evolved throughout the years, starting their career with a split with the legendary Emperor and now this…and they still have yet to dissapoint. I have a feeling this will be one of my top 10 album picks of 2005 at the end of the year. Cheers.

    Posted on February 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now