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Enslaved - Below The Lights CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.23 | 110 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Below the Lights is an excellent Black Metal release by progressive black metal band Enslaved. There's lot's of creativity in the album, and from the beginning one should know that they aren't in for a ride of a standard metal album OR a standard prog album, because "As Fire Swept Clean The Earth" begins with a haunting sole mellotron introducing, only to be immediately taken over by bleak and harsh black metal riffs.

The rest of the album has several great moments as well. Although black metal doesn't usually lend itself to solos, there is a technical and fast guitar solo towards the beginning of "The Dead Stare" that is pure excellence, and the song continues to progress to new sounds and atmospheres. The rest of the songs flow quite well too, since none of them are in standard verse and chorus formats. A good example is "The Crossing" which has an awesome acoustic guitar switching with agressive electric guitars to create an excellent buildup, until the vocals come in.

One thing most notable about Below the Lights are the eclecicism of the artsts. Though most of the album is clearly black metal with prog rock flourishes, there are a few other things mixed in. The previously-mentioned opener "As Fire Swept Clean the Earth" leaves behind the harsh and evil black metal atmospheres at one point and suddenly turns into death metal, with some exceptionally agressive growls. "Queen of Borrowed Light" begins with an interesting jazz tinged intro, with folky flute flowing through it. While these songs are excellent, perhaps fans will be more eager to note the obvious viking roots of Enslaved because of "Havenless", which bursts right from the beginning into a viking chant, while later turning into a march with excellent syncopated percussion and palm-mute riffing.

Below the Lights only contains a few flaws. There's quite a bit of repetition in the album, but that's to be expected from a black metal band. Still, as good musicians one would hope that they are capable of writing music capable of more exploration instead of relying on simpler riffs most of the time. Also, the last couple of tracks are closer to standard black metal than anything progressive, though "Ridicule Swarm" does have a rather interesting extended mellotron intro and "A Darker Place" is nice and sludgy.

In any event, this is a great black metal release by Enslaved. As I have said, it contains awesome metal licks and mixes in a lot of influence, from their folk and Norwegian viking roots to the progressive rock of the 70, which is more than enough of a reason to get it.

topofsm | 4/5 |


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