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The latest effort of Norwegian metal gods Enslaved has proved itself to be a killer in the hearts of their die-hard fans. Compared to their previous release Axioma Ethica Odini, RIITIIR could pan out to be overwhelming for an Enslaved virgin. The songs found here are a little less exciting and seem as if there was a little too much though put into some parts. I would suggest their previous album if you take newly found interest in this band, as RIITIIR's only flaws seem to be its lyrical complexity and its massive interpretive value, or its occasional repetitive, forced transitions (similar to that of Into Eternity). Nonetheless, this album has an immense amount of pros that outweigh the cons.
Enslaved has crammed this with many different vocal styles ranging from near-humming chanting to nasally and snarly growls, sometimes even overlapping each other. Consisting of three alternating vocalists, they all do a great job of sounding like they are truly singing from their heart, filled with hope and pride yet knowing only distress and misery. This gives a very sorrow filled album overall, while the slow segments are overly soothing to the ears and the quicker segments give you the urge to blast it while speeding down the highway.
The instrumental value is absolutely over the top; here you can find the odd jazzy transition in every couple songs with beautiful mini solo’s laden over top. The drumming is amazing and sounds the best when they are switching between all the many transitions. There is something for everyone on RIITIIR, from chaotic guitar and drum passages, loopy and wild scaling guitars and heart pounding drum intros and outros.
If you need convincing on whether or not to pick up RIITIIR, be sure to check out “Forsaken” as it is by far the strongest piece. It is an extremely exciting song and is the only song to feature any piano, and they incorporate it in a very Opeth-esque way. The title track and “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” are also great examples of everything worthwhile there is too find on this album. Some of the vocal styles over softer segments remind me of Devin Townsend’s more recent work. The heavier, doomier parts sound like samples from a Swallow the Sun album.
With another epic release under their belt, Enslaved are still ever moving away from their old self and trying new things. It’s not like they are failing at it either, time and time again its still absolutely breathtaking.