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Enslaved - Nema CD (album) cover

NEMA

Enslaved

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

1.73 | 8 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
1 stars 'Nema' - Enslaved (2/10)

Released at the peak of the Second Wave of Black Metal in Norway, Enslaved's first demo would catch the attention of many of the scene's larger players. Within a few years, Enslaved would be playing with the likes of Satyricon and other giants of black metal. Almost twenty years since the release of this demo, Enslaved have since gone on to becoming one of the premier acts in not only black, but progressive metal as well. By developing their sound beyond the raspy and unpolished haze of typical black metal, the band was able to escape the confines of the scene's relatively small (but dedicated) fanbase and appeal to a much wider range of metalheads. While I may be thankful to this demo for spearheading the career of one of my favourite black metal acts, I can't say in honesty that I found the demo itself to be of much enjoyment. While I am a self-proclaimed fan of the black metal style, there is little that endears 'Nema' from a purely musical perspective. While it does distinguish itself in terms of sound from many of it's contemporary releases, the lack of experience is very evident here, and it leads to a relatively unsatisfying release.

Keeping in mind that the guitarist Grutle Kjellson (listed on the tape simply as Grutle) and the drummer were only 17 and 13 respectively at the time of this recording, it's quite impressive a feat on it's own for a widely-recognized demo to be made by such young musicians. Impartially however, 'Nema' is a mess. Beginning with some fuzzy synthwork and raspy whispering, the cheesy factor of the genre hits the demo early on. During the two actual songs here (the first and last track are best described as an intro and outro) the guitar riffs are boring, and almost indistinguishable from the screeches. While lo-fi, unpolished production is expected from both black metal and demo alike, the sound here is dreadful. Possibly the only saving grace of the music is the more mellow tone of the music and synthwork during the two longer tracks, which give 'Nema' a sound that's almost akin to shoegaze.

'Nema' is best considered as a historical concept to the growth of Enslaved, rather than a work of music. Simply put; even as a fan of both black metal and Enslaved, I found it difficult to find much to appreciate here, besides the apparent passion for the form, from a very young Enslaved.

Conor Fynes | 1/5 |

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