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Enslaved - Ruun - 97%

winterglownautical, June 2nd, 2006

Though I hate slapping a label on Enslaved, This is the way Progressive Viking/Black Metal should sound. The only other band that can make progressive metal right would have to be Agalloch and or maybe Green Carnation, in fact, I even see some of their influence in the sound of Ruun, but I doubt that that was intentional. Reading a review for Ruun in Terrorizer, I had a different impression on this album, but until I actually listened to it, I became extremely attracted to where they are heading with Ruun. Isa was very cold and powerful; Ruun is more on the experimental psychedelic side, but still having that raw, untamed edge. The tone of this album is very colorful, as in sonically, and their focus from Isa, turned into an abrasiveness to all styles of music, not just metal, and I think that was a bold and honestly, a right choice for these musicians, because i can tell they enjoy playing an eclectic style of music such as this. Some might say this a much more lighter Enslaved, or that they have lost their edge, but if this was just another Isa style album, it would have been much less interesting to listen to (not saying Isa wasn't as good though), and less interesting and enjoyable for the band to play, because i can tell Enslaved are the type to have a range in interests and styles, which is a fantastic thing for any musician to have.

Musically, everything is fantastic. The Guitar playing on Ruun is beyond most metal and prog. rock can ever achieve. Vocally, Grutle never seems to displease. The bass is very audible in the mix and played without fault. The drums are done in a way that are somewhat majestic at times, yet have a catchy and smooth prog. feel. The Keyboards are what gives this album the extra atmosphere, and with Enslaved, atmosphere is a must, though the keys are never over done or used plainly. This album just reminds me of sailing across a beautiful waterscape, or something to that effect that represents a grace, but at the same time an immense metal feel that doesn't leave you empty handed.

The expanse of this album isn't even explainable; one has to hear it for themselves. I really enjoy experimental and progressive music, and when I hear a metal band such as Enslaved play this style of music, I feel a great sensation, knowing that this band enjoys playing more then just a single style. I suggest anyone who likes progressive music to listen to this, even "strictly metal" heads should enjoy this release; it doesn't hide behind a genre which has been defined over and over.