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Enslaved - Isa CD (album) cover

ISA

Enslaved

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.17 | 213 ratings

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Wintersun
5 stars This is an amazing album by one of the leading 2nd Wave Norwegian Back Metal band. Enslaved built a reputation in the black metal scene with great releases such as Vikingligr Veldi, Blodhemn and Eld, but it wasn't until their 5th studio release Mardraum: Beyond the Within did they really begin to experiment with their sounds and increase their focus on progressive atmospheres and psychedelics. However, Isa is an even greater leap towards their progressive development, including different applications of instruments such as acoustic guitar backing a semi-heavy song like Bounded by Allegiance and a variety of synths and keyboard settings. The combination of viking/folk vocal harmonies with gargling, rasping black metal vocals, is rather uncommon for black metal.

Isa is a perfect blend of classic black metal atmospheres and progressive qualities found, in direct influence, by bands such as Rush, Pink Floyd, and King Crimson, whom the front man Grutle Kjlleson named as part of his favorite bands of all time, respectively. Yet, Enslaved has yet to loose their black metal touch; instead of abandoning their original black metal fan base, they have expanded beyond into the progressive community, and yet they maintain a "We do what we want with our music" mind-set. That is a great success for many bands, even in prog, have not accomplished, and not even to the degree of Enslaved.

Many of the songs on this album fluidly transition from extreme metal to more subtle, yet grinding, yet melodic sections that sound perfect and not even slightly "blockish" Some songs just drive you forward with fantastic riffs such as the title track and Lunar Force. Some songs are fast, heavy, they create an atmosphere for which black metal is best known, on this album; Secrets of the Flesh is a great example of this. This album has none of the musical downsides of black metal such as repetitive riffs that drone, cheesy satanic lyrics, and low-fi recording.

The main purpose in Enslaved's music is to create sound-scapes, some of the greatest in all prog metal but identifying what it is that you are sensing from these auroras can be confusing, if you don't fully understand what that atmosphere might be or should look like, watch their music videos and it will become abundantly clear.

Stating that I would recommend this album to everyone would be redundant in light of the fact that I am giving this album a 5 of 5. The only flaw within this album are that some of the songs have rather low-mixed vocals, but that doesn't do any injustice to the music in the slightest. Perhaps you may not like "gargle" black metal vocals but that just takes getting used to (or perhaps ignoring.) This album is the #1 Progressive Black Metal album, if not Extreme Prog Metal album of all time.

Wintersun | 5/5 |

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