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Enslaved - Vikingligr Veldi CD (album) cover

VIKINGLIGR VELDI

Enslaved

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.54 | 69 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Vikingligr Veldi is a black metal milestone and Enslaved's most symphonic styled black metal album, closer to Emperor and Immortal then to their later prog rock and an obvious inspiration for both the more commercial symphonic black metal bands like Dimmu Borgir and the atmospheric tendencies of early Katatonia and Agalloch.

The opening track Lifandi Lif Undir Hamri is very gripping and sums up everything that is on offer on this album, a fast, repetitive and entrancing pace, tremolo-picked guitar riffs, vicious black metal shrieks, haunting keyboards and folksy overtones. As Umur pointed out this might appeal to kraut fans. Me being one, I can only confirm that claim. The track has only minimal melody but appeals greatly because of its rhythm and entrancing effect.

The remaining tracks have a similar approach, Vetranott is another 11 minute slab of up-tempo dark energy. Especially the blast beat section in the middle is wild and furious. Enslaved add just enough melody to make it digestible and alluring. Of course Grutle's shrieks are an acquired taste and by the time the next 11 minutes of Midgards Eldar I get quite weary of them as well, so I rarely sit through this album in one go.

Heilmdallr is an Enslaved classic that still features in their live set. More concise and decidedly more black and aggressive it's a welcome change after the 3 epics that preceded. Also the instrumental Norvegr offers some variation in tempo and instrumentation, featuring even some (under-produced) acoustic guitars and prominent melodious bass guitar that gives it a kind of new wave feel (think of a badly produced the Cure jam with fuzzed out guitars).

The production is really good for black metal standards of that era, of course it's murky and trebly but all instruments are clearly audible, even the bass (at least if you have big woofers). The performance is inspired and energetic and the compositions are very big, symphonic and - seen from a broad perspective that includes kraut and space-rock - certainly progressive, though not Prog Rock of the kind Enslaved would start playing in the ensuing decade. Not perfect but an impressive album. Essential for black metal fans and still excellent within the Tech/Extreme sub. Maybe we need an extreme kraut metal sub for this album! 3.5 stars

Bonnek | 4/5 |

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