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Regression - 35%

Kruel, October 11th, 2008

Supposedly Enslaved went progressive, but as in most cases of "evolution" of bands, this is a regression from black metal art into watered-down mainstream music. It seems like the band lost any sense of subtlety. When it is plain, it just goes right away into stupid third-rate black/thrash. When it is pretentious, it either plays technical prog riffs or throws in ambient parts that don't have anything to do with the rest of the music, just to ensure this is something progressive and different. This breaks down everything in early Enslaved into individual parts, subtracts the good ones and adds some other things, and presents these parts in a horizontal manner rather than presenting them vertically (and by vertical I presentation I mean incorporating the influences into a single, coherent compound that is essentially something new, not layering doom riffs with growled vocals and spacy keyboards). So what you hear is a Sabbath riff after a Floyd solo and a doom/death part after a quasi-Viking narration, followed by an ambience. Add some clean singing, rock solos and sound effects. There is no coherence. No, it doesn't reach the level of randomness of bands like Unexpect on the surface, but inside, it is just as, if not more, incoherent compared to overtly random-sounding avant-garde bands. Just throw in a bunch of influences and make them all obvious, and guess what, it sounds progressive! But of course, in reality it is regressive, bringing nothing new to the table and dumbing-down everything from which it takes influence.