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Brilliant, nothing more, nothing less. - 92%

PerArdua, August 29th, 2004

Enslaved are one of the founding fathers of the genre known as viking metal, the lineup has gone through many changes over their illustrious career, yet with each release they manage to produce something new and original.
'Below the Lights' brings in elements of death metal and progressive metal along with the typical viking metal that Enslaved is known for.

As Fire swept clean the earth: This song is such a great way to start of this album, it begins with an interesting sound from the synthesizers, sort of like an old record player but with chords (hard to explain) but it fits perfect. This leads into this song, typical tremelo picking and screams, very nice. The song features interludes with chants and spoken vocals along with a more mellow guitar, before blasting back into the tremelo picking. About midway through the song, a death metal approach is taken, seemingly out of no where, this soon slows down to a mellow riff, with a short guitar solo. The song then blasts back into tremelo picking and finishes on the same opening to the song.
5/5 Great song

The Dead Stare: This song is a little more upbeat than the first, a mid paced riff along with good drumming here makes for a nice combination. Soon enough, there is a solo that fits in with the upbeat part of the song, even though the first part of the solo is a bit cliched. The solo leads right into an interlude, a very good one at that, this in turn leads into blasting tremelo picking with the drums balancing it all out. The song then takes another turn for the slower, sort of like parts on Arcturus' 'The Sham Mirrors.' The song then finishes by playing the same riffs from the beginning of the song, again.
3.5/5 A good listen.

The Crossing: Acoustic intro here, played very nicely, dwelling in both major and minor chords. Soon the acoustics are broken with some tremelo picking, and some synthesizers in the background for an extra dimension to the song. After this tremelo picking has taken effect, in comes another acoustic part, played to perfection. This same part is then played with distortion and drums, it sounds very good. About halfway through the song, the song picks up with a typical Enslaved riff, this really picks up the song. Good stuff all around. This part also includes spoken and chanted vocals. About 6 minutes in, there is a solo but it serves the purpose of a lead part here. Towards the end of the song, it really picks up before slowing down and fading out at the end.
4/5 Good track

Queen of the Night: This intro is very weird, almost jazzy mixing an acoustic guitar and a flute along with the drums going in the background. Leading into a nice, typical Enslaved riff. The next part (along with most of this song) incorporates lead parts and melody, very well executed. The solo in this song is one of the better ones on this cd. The first lyrics on this song are sung, and they are sung very well, i love this part. This next part really picks up the pace, intense drumming and very fast guitar riff, along with screams. This is more like the older stuff that Enslaved did, this is prove that they still have skill.
5/5 Probably my favorite track on the album, though it's hard to pick.

Havenless: This song starts off with a chant, with guitars blaring in the background, it makes for a very interesting intro. This goes on for a little, then into a typical Enslaved riff, with some palm muted stuff along with screams. Nothing bad here. Soon comes in a cool riff, somewhat like a Quo Vadis song, but slowed down and if you added in chants and wind. This part is very interesting. This goes on for quite a while before returning to the original riffs in the song. The song then ends the same way it started, with the chant.
3.5/5 Solid Song.

Ridicula Swarm: This song starts off with cello (synth) it's a very sad and depressing intro, i love the atmosphere that it gives off. The song then gets extremely fast, fast. A very fast song, with technical drumming and an awesome guitar riff. About halfway through the song, there is a symphonic interlude, along with clean guitars. This is quickly broken with viking chants and great guitarwork. This song rotates in and out of traditional viking metal and a more black metal approach.
5/5 In the running for best song on the album.

A Darker Place: A sort of slower guitar part to open this song along with some synth parts. The song then picks up a bit, along with great vocals here, they are sung particularly well. This song then goes into black metal mode, along with death metal growls. This song gets very fast at this point, good stuff. The song eventually returns to the parts with great vocals. At about 4:30 the song stops for a second and the sound of nature comes in, followed by a beatiful acoustic part. With some guitars in the background, nothing big though as the acoustic is still the main focus of the music. The song fades out with this acoustic part along with the guitar solo. This song ends on the sound of nature. Thus ending the album.
4.5/5 Awesome track

Brilliant album all the way around, though at times it can be a bit repetitive.