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As any black metal fan knows, Enslaved dominated the Viking black metal scene for a number of years. They put out four professional masterpieces in a row. But I guess all good things must come to an end. After a bland album to end their black metal sound, “Monumension” came out in 2001. This release changed the band’s style to psychedelic rock. Enslaved are no Pink Floyd, and there are a lot of problems with this album.
First of all the vocals are still great. However, they really don’t fit in this style of music. Grutle’s vocals are still very strong black metal rasps with full power. They are nasty, powerful and downright dirty. But this vocal style mixed with the psychedelic sound of “Monumension” does not work for me. I don’t know about you, but malevolent screams fronting Pink Floyd is not an ideal match. There are clean vocals here, and I wish they were utilized more than they are. Grutle has always struggled in singing range and power and here is no exception. On “Monumension” he sings in a tenor pitch instead of his usual Viking baritone way. If he stuck to singing throughout the whole album, this album would be rated much higher and might stand a chance at being a good psychedelic rock album. But the very out of place harsh vocals do not fit the music here.
Guitars and keyboards are provided by Ivar. He usually writes great sounding Viking metal riffs but here he holds back. He is clearly influenced by Pink Floyd and his riffs are very repetitive and dull. Un-amplified guitars are present but they are not played in a classical or folk style. Riffs are poorly written and dolefully fail to impress the listener (unless you like over repetitive riffing that sounds like a poor mans Pink Floyd). Keys are also highly psychedelic. They have that classic rock sound that makes you think of rainbows and mushrooms. Ivar actually performs them well, but they do not fit with some of the more metal parts of “Monumension”.
The drumming is done by Dirge Rep. In most of his projects he has proven to be a very good drummer. He is used on this album as a background feature. This disturbs me because he could have dominated this album with frantic blasting. He does not play to the best of his ability but I did not expect him to shine after learning this is a psychedelic album.
The only solid song here is “The Voices”. It actually has a nice melody to it with more metal than rock used. This works because Grutle’s snarls don’t sound out of place. “Convoys to Nothingness” and “The Sleep Floating Diversity” are really boring songs that seem to never end. They are both eight minutes and are not effectively written rock songs. Pink Floyd might be able to pull this length off, but Enslaved are amateur rockers.
I hate to give Enslaved a rating of zero, but they really did not produce one song worth listening to ever again. I’m sorry, but something has to be enjoyable for me to give it a positive rating. Fans of Pink Floyd might like this, but they also might condemn it for not being up to par with the psychedelic greats. I don’t recommend buying this, but if you do, you were warned.