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  • 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