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"Ruun" requires some patience but it's worth it - 95%

dudelar, June 14th, 2006

First of all let me say that in my opinion "Isa", "Below the Lights" and "Mardraum" are some of the most impressive extreme metal records ever created. The metal scene can be a little 'narrow minded' to say the least and Enslaved have never let that get in their way. I'm a fan of all types of music from Darkthrone to Albert Ayler and from Radiohead to Neil Young and if you ask me Enslaved are just as vital. It seems like these guys live for their music and because of that all of their records seem totally positive and triumphant to me.

Over the past few years I have rediscovered the wonder of listening to music via headphones. One of the records that got me back into it was "Isa." I must have listened to that album 1000 times that way (and it wasn't just because of all of the wine and smoke...) As many of you know, the genius of Enslaved is the atmosphere that they create so it was pretty important to me that I my ears were pummeled with "Ruun" as they were with previous albums. Those are some pretty heavy expectations to live up to eh?

I was a little nervous during the opening minutes of my first listen of "Ruun." The opening riff is genius and I was hooked on that right away. After that, the parts seemed to blend together and I didn't know what to think. It was weird, I was kind of freaked out for the rest of that day because I was actually questioning whether or not I liked a new Enslaved record. This had never happened before! That may sound kind of pathetic but that goes to show how much their previous albums had totally slayed me.

Despite my concerns I found myself listening to the record again and again. By the end of that first day, I had probably listened to it four times, something I hadn't done with a record in years. By the end of that day I still wasn't entirely sure how I felt about the album but it was beginning to grow on me. I continued listening to the album a few times a day for the rest of the week. I began to realize that the reason that the riffs weren't staying with me was because of their unique qualities not their negative ones. And then sure enough, it hit me, they had done it again. Enslaved clearly can do no wrong.

"Ruun" has everything. Killer riffs, freaking mind-blowing drumming (one of the best drummers in metal right now in my opinion), the contrasting vocals that seem like they shouldn't work together at all but actually work together effortlessly, the 'smart' bass playing in the sense that Grutle only plays what is necessary and it's still totally badass and the keyboards---aghhh keyboards, something I'm not normally much of a fan of but man are they handled properly in this band providing layers of atmosphere that no amount of guitarists with Line-6 pedals could possibly provide. I can't think of band in the world that even touches these guys right now (except for maybe MASTODON...let the criticisms fly...). ENSLAVED are without a doubt the most forward thinking metal band since VOIVOD. Some have called them the PINK FLOYD of extreme metal...how about RADIOHEAD??? Do you hate me now....Damn, these guys totally rule.

In conclusion, maybe not my favorite ENSLAVED album but as a piece of the puzzle as a whole I guess it's just as important.

note to ENSLAVED:.
come to Chicago. I will help if necessary.