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Enslaved - Ruun CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.98 | 137 ratings

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4 stars Ruun marks the end of Enslaved's progression. In fact they had reached that endpoint already with Below the Lights, but the mighty Isa consolidated their black metal styled prog. Ruun is still a good album but it does not continue to surprise me, nor does it manage to be entirely consistent. The artwork is really cool though.

A first step down are the clean vocals. Judging from the live DVD's, keyboard player Herbrand Larsen handles most of them now. And while Grutle Kjellson was never amazing at clean vocals either, he still had some poise and conviction when delivering them. Larsen however is flat and tuneless, mostly singing all his lines on one and the same dreary tone with next to no inflection. He also sounds very insecure and unsteady, even out of tune sometimes as on Entroper. But the list of examples is endless.

A second weakness is the predictability of the music. Enslaved stick to their guns and avoid all those marvellous trips and experiments that flourished on Monumension and Below the Lights. Here and there some new influences can be heard though: next to the plethora of Voivod riffs and Floyd psychedelics, also a Tool influence is notable now, as on the title track Ruun. Unfortunately that is one of the tracks that is dead born due to the inadequate vocals. In fact there's only one moment that grips me on this album and that is where Grutle Kjelson manages most of the vocals. The gorgeous Heir To The Cosmic Seed is a 5 star ending for sure.

As the music is generally very good again, I could try to ignore the feeble clean vocals and still consider 4 stars. But that will be for a day when I'm in a less grouchy mood!

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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