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Enslaved - Below the Lights CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.18 | 128 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars |B| Excellent black metal with plenty of King Crimson influences!

Really there's very little by this band I've heard so for that hasn't at the very least impressed me, and this album is certainly no exception. Enslaved is one of the leading bands in all of black metal, and developed into progressive tendencies, not unlike what Death did for death metal. Only instead of finding more technicality, we find a more atmospheric approach to the composition, which fits perfectly with the sort of sound-scape-ish nature of the original black metal style. Unlike many metal bands, prog or not, this band seems to avoid power chords and go straight for dissonance with the guitar work, and combine this dissonance with the adventurous composition of King Crimson and Pink Floyd, and eventually Rush as well in the following albums. The result is powerful, cohesive, quality progressive black metal.

Any fan of the band can expect to find, as with all of their other albums, something that overall distinguishes this from their other releases. This would, unfortunately, also be their last album to include distinctly viking folk influences, such as the opening chants in the track Havenless. This viking folk element is combined with well-polished black metal, along with many things that bring to mind such albums as In the Court of the Crimson King and Red, as well as Meddle or Dark Side of the Moon. This "prog" side of the band would only grow with further releases, creating work that towers almost everything else in extreme metal, in my mind.

So yes, brilliant black metal crunching riffs, as usual for the band, along with a mixture of black metal and clean vocals, prog nuances with mellotron and keyboard effects, and viking nuances in various tracks, drumming on this album is more relaxed than in most of the band's other work, even after this album, which I kind of like even more. The most energetic it gets is the black metal type of blast beats in Ridicule Swarm. All of these elements combine to make this album something very unique and great, defying categorization (other than "progressive black metal"), progressing their sound from album to album, just as all of the truly great prog bands do.

The fan of extreme prog metal, especially those who don't mind the black metal side of the genre, really 'ought to check out this band and much of their discography, the entirety of which I plan on purchasing, eventually. This is one of the best bands in this sub-genre as far as I'm concerned, and it greatly pleases me that they've been getting more attention for their work lately. Highly recommended to any fan of prog or metal. Essential to listeners of black metal.

Isa | 4/5 |


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