I’m not sure where to begin with this album. I guess I may start with the fact that it’s a tad better than Riitiiir, but also quite similar, so much so that it could be Riitiiir part 2. The sound and feel of the music is in the same style Enslaved have been sporting since the brilliant ISA album.
They have kept the feel of extreme metal with razor sharp guitar, pounding bass and complete with blast beats and all. Grutles angry, rasping vocals is a staple of their sound as well. I’d like to give props to the his vocal technique, not a lot of metal singers can match his gruffness and still keep the diction understandable. A lot of people sacrifice lyrics for power, especially in the harder sides of metal.
The songwriting is the main reason why Enslaved are among the top acts in metal today. The songs are intelligent, progressive, melodic, brutal and, at times, beautiful. They move and flow in natural ways, without sounding predictable but rather …. familiar. Different riffs and parts build on one another, and gives the music a natural sound, just listened to the opener Thurisaz Dreaming and feel how it all fits together. Enslaved has become a kind of lay back form of extreme metal. Even their harder parts have this laid back feel and seems more mellow and somehow more comfortable than other metal / rock of the same ilk.
This album is rimmed with progressive turns and hooks. Time signatures change subtly, but effectively. The combination av the gruff, black metal style vocals, and the clean vocals is still working well. The clean vocals can be a bit bland at times, but works well as a mood setter, the prime example beeing One Thousand Years of Rain. It is this combination of the light and dark that works. I would guess that any one of them on it’s own would be quite tiresome.
The cover art has been pulled back and are simpler than the previous albums. The labels are white with a “one line drawing”. It’s super effective and beautiful. The down to earth artwork reflects the music perfectly. Sailing towards the rising sun is a truly beautiful view and is a metaphor for returning home in norse mythology, which plays right into Enslaveds returning viking/norse theme.
Recommended downloads: Nauthir Bleeding, One Thousand Years of Rain, Thurisaz Dreaming