Enslaved-Utgard

Yeah! The Rush of black metal is back!!

Caveat up front: I just love the everliving shit out of these dudes. They have been amongst the vanguard of traditional black metal bands that have been dragging the genre into a more progressive realm for years now. What Opeth did for death metal, Enslaved has done for black metal. This review may be a bit of a lovefest even though this particular album may not be at the pinnacle of their power.

This latest album sees the band continue in their very Opeth-y direction. Granted, it’s not a full embrace of 70s prog that Opeth has chosen, but this is a very proggy album overall. But keep in mind that this is still a very metal album. It’s just that the song structures feel a little more straightforward and almost poppy in their presentation. Vocally, you’ve got about an even split between the hard blackened growls and clean vocals and also about an even split between English and Norwegian lyrics. I will say that the addition of new keyboardist/clean vocalist, Hakon Vinje, has been a great addition to the band. He is just a fantastic vocalist and his range really opens up quite a few new sonic areas in which the band can play.

All in all, this is another solid slab of metal from Enslaved. I’m not sure it is quite in the realm of some of their classic material, but that’s not really meant as a slight at all. With the catalog these guys have produced over the years, it’s a tall order to continually top oneself. This is just a nicely produced slab of proggy black metal. They are just one of the true dependable entities we have in metal today.

4 flip flops out of 5

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