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A different take on atmospheric - 94%

Bent__Canoe, December 5th, 2018

Before listening to this album, I was casual Enslaved fan who enjoyed “Frost” and planned on further investigating what this band has to offer. After listening to this album, I just want to devour Enslaved’s discography. What’s impressive is how different this album is from its predecessor, “Frost”, yet it seems like a natural and appropriate step in the band’s progression. As the names of the albums might suggest, “Frost” has a much chillier and for lack of a better term, frosty, atmosphere than the warm late spring/summer atmosphere of “Eld” (which translates to “fire” in English), yet both still have that Nordic feel to it.

The production is relatively clean for a black metal record, which is part of the reason why this album has a much warmer atmosphere than its predecessor, and greatly compliments the music. Enslaved has stepped up their songwriting on this album, which they immediately made obvious with the 16 minute “793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne)”, with a lovely soft intro and not a single minute wasted for the sake of lengthening the run time of the song. Throughout the album, you hear some excellent riffs and melodies backed by chaotic blast beats and some damn good black metal vocals, not to mention the wonderful clean vocals on this album. Synths on this album are fantastic and play a major part in the atmosphere, as well as kick off the album with the beautiful 4-5 minute ambient intro to the album.

Vocally, this album is far superior to “Frost” making more use of Grutle’s clean Viking metal vocals as well as choirs here and there. Of course this album still keeps Grutle’s nasty snarled screams which compliment the gnarly riffage throughout the album (and his cleans compliment the more atmospheric riffs).

On this album you face a very common problem in metal, and that is the bass. It’s nearly inaudible on this album, in fact I can’t remember one bass line off the album. Fortunately, this isn’t too big of a deal, since this album is still godly without bass, but it would still be appreciated if it were higher in the mix.

Overall, a very stellar album that encourages me to go through their whole discography. Enslaved is a band that is generall very well liked by the metal community, and with a career spanning 20+ years, I can see Enslaved becoming one of my favorite bands. They are still making music today with their latest release “E” in 2017, and have supposedly been going in a progressive black metal direction in recent years, and hey, I love progressive metal. This album somewhat foreshadows their future progressive leanings without deliberately taking up any prog metal trends. I’d recommend this album to anyone into any sort of atmospheric metal, for it is not too inaccessible to non black metal fans, so do yourself a favor, and try it out.