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Atmospheric BM - 89%

jaevlasvensk, October 3rd, 2004

Enslaved’s Frost comes from the second wave of Norwegian black metal, with plenty of synthetic atmosphere in the vein of Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse. It is interesting, however, that the former predates the latter in release date by nearly 7 months...

The album begins with the title track, a synth-orchestral intro. Very well executed, perfect introduction to the album. “Loke” begins with epic, soaring guitarwork, which soon gives way to searing, full-speed black metal.

After a short spoken-word intro, “Fenris” picks up with a brilliant riff that actually... grooves. It’s followed by a brief acoustic passage, leading into the track’s mid-tempo first segment. The keyboard parts in this song are absolute genius. Somewhere around 3:30 we shift to more blitzkrieg drumming, broken up by guitar/keyboard breaks. Then at about 5:17, we get another brilliant keyboard melody, this time taking the lead. Afterwards, more blastbeats, which at this point are getting slightly tedious... but they advance to lightning speed near the end of the track, making for good, clean BM fun.

“Svarte Vidder” has some wonderful atmosphere going for it. At about 2:10 we have an interesting riff which greatly adds to that atmosphere, and the entire song is enhanced by tasteful use of various synths. On to track 5–“Yggdrasil”. Here we’ve got a bit of Northern folk-type music, led by bellowing melodic vocals, and eventually joined by distorted guitar. This IS viking metal, remember?

Just as soon as you’ve relaxed into the folkish atmosphere, however, “Jotunblod” launches out of nowhere with more face-ripping BM. Near the middle of the song we’ve got a great church organ part, further building upon the dark atmosphere. “Gylfaginning” starts off slowly, moving into some great mid-tempo thrashing, and then into another synth-driven atmospheric passage with more of Grutle Kjellson’s bellowed clean vocals. Later on we’ve got some bizarre riffing and bass soloing.

“Wotan” is another breakneck BM track, though there’s nothing extremely outstanding here. “Isöders Dronning” begins with beautiful, haunting choir vocals and acoustic guitar, moving into more chilling BM. Various acoustic interludes and spoken-word parts are spread throughout, making this track exceedingly atmospheric.

Frost is surely one of the more underrated releases of second-wave Norwegian BM. Definitely recommended for any fan of black metal.