Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enslaved- Vertebrae

So what a perfect way to get back in the swing of things, but with a review of the new Enslaved album. First a little disclaimer, Enslaved is probably my favorite all-time metal band, so I am pretty biased. But then again, they pretty much made me biased, so perhaps "convinced" or "sold on" is a better term.

Anyhow, if you don't know, Enslaved are from Norway. They started in the '90s playing black metal with a Viking theme. I think their first release was a split with Darkthrone. You can't really get more kvlt than that. Since that time they have released 10 albums. This is their tenth. 10 albums in the world of black metal pretty much makes them like the Rolling Stones of bm. The greatest thing about them is that they have grown on every single release they have put out. Some bands put out the same record every time. This can be OK, but real artists take chances and grow. By this definition, Enslaved truly are artists.

They started out sounding like traditional bm. Soon all kinds of new sounds started popping up in their music. Clean vocal passages, slower parts, keyboards, pretty melodies, and god forbid, song parts in major keys. Fast forward to now and here is what you have. A band that sounds like Tool and Pink Floyd and black metal all at the same time. The songs are catchy, there are riffs everywhere. The guitar interplay is amazing, the keyboards perfectly fit, and the drumming is superb. Vocals are now mostly clean singing, but every song still has the more traditional bm screeching style vocal. They sound still grim like bm, but also insanely uplifting. Like a Viking horde that has an earth ritual in the frosty tundra all night, then suddenly the sun starts to rise and they are all blown away by the beauty and majesty of it all. And behind their frost covered beards, hidden to their breathern, small smiles erupt.

In other words, Vertebrae is amazing. Enslaved is amazing, as always. At this point in their career, I would not only argue that they are the best bm band in the world, I might venture that they may be the best rock band, period.

Check out some tunes:

Bonus content: Here's a picture I snapped of them at a show of theirs this Spring.

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