Released by Nuclear Blast Records on October 13th, 2017, the newest release by Norwegian metal veterans Enslaved,‘E, continues the band’s experimental, progressive sound and is certainly a must-listen for long-time fans.
While I generally dislike progressive metal, this album – and especially it’s first track, ‘Storm Son’ – has given me a different outlook on the subgenre. I have to say, though, that I did find certain parts of this album a little odd, but hey, I like hearing bands experimenting. Namely, the album’s final track ‘Hiindsiight’ includes a saxophone; only the second time I’ve heard one used in metal. Very interesting, indeed, as I really like hearing instruments used in metal that aren’t usually used in said genre.
Humorous musings on the mental image of any of the members now sporting a soul patch and sunglasses aside – “…jazz fusion is TOTALLY their next step now!” – the album honestly does please me with its unique experimental elements (playful jokes disregarded). A good example would be the intrigue I felt first hearing ‘Axis Of The Worlds’, as I thought it sounded quite like “Blackened Southern metal” – even if only the first half.
My first listen-through had me dislike the fifth track ‘Feathers of Eolh’, yet I find myself enjoying it this second time, as I find it quite calming at various points throughout; not only that, but the track as a whole is a very enjoyable one in itself.
I like the use of an organ on the track ‘Sacred Horse’; I was as pleasantly surprised by that as I was by the use of a saxophone later on the album. The track overall had a very doom-y feel to it, which I appreciate; especially between 4:24 and 7:49.
I also found a couple tracks very reminiscent of Ghost B.C. at parts, namely the aforementioned ‘Sacred Horse’ and ‘Axis Of The Worlds’, while I found ‘The River’s Mouth’ reminiscent of Swedish blackened rock band Tribulation.
As for criticisms: while I did have a few initially, I think after my second listen to the album, I think I’ve come to really enjoy it. Honestly, what I was going to critique were the very elements that influenced a change of opinion: my pre-existing dislike of progressive metal has been lessened by this album, as I’m beginning to understand the style more. I also didn’t like the discordant-sounding guitars on the intro of ‘Feathers of Eolh’, yet I actually think that bit is quite neat now.
On the whole, as I stated previously in my review of Ahab’s ‘The Call Of The Wretched Sea’, this album has opened my mind to a whole new style of metal. I think that this album is very good, and I greatly appreciate the experimental elements. None of any of my statements or comments on this album should really be interpreted in a negative light from me. Au contraire, I quite like the eagerness the band displays in their desire to explore music and experiment, while still wanting to retain a core sound. I am sure to check out their prior discography.
I would suggest this album to fans of Enslaved, Ghost B.C., and Tribulation.
1. Storm Son
2. The River’s Mouth
3. Sacred Horse
4. Axis Of The Worlds
5. Feathers Of Eolh
Grutle Kjellson – bass and vocals
Ice Dale – lead guitar
Cato Bekkevold – drums
Håkon Vinje – keys and vocals
Ivar Bjørnson – guitars