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Enslaved - Isa CD (album) cover

ISA

Enslaved

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.17 | 210 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've never been much of a Black Metal fan even though I not only live in the 'right' region but also am in the right generational age gap to fit in as the genre's follower. Most of the so called 'classic' Black Metal material from bands like Immortal and Mayhem are barely listenable due to the terrible production. Maybe I'm just not that big fan of music if I let small things like production get in the way of things? Then again, others could claim the complete opposite! Either way, the whole combination of high-pitched guitar tones and a great deal of distortion together with poor vocals and inaudible bass, makes me shiver whenever I think about it.

Having said that, I've still been drawn to this odd genre, on a number of occasions, only to immediately retract in shivering horror. The same thing happened when I initially listened to Enslaved; a Black Metal/Viking Metal band with somewhat of a following and even some critical praise. I listened to their five track - 50 minute debut album(!), Vikingligr Veldi, and it was pretty bad to say the least. Naturally, when a friend of mine recommended me Isa, I became highly critical of the whole idea of revisiting Enslaved. But after receiving an offer that I couldn't refuse, I came home with a borrowed copy of Isa in my hands!

My first reaction to what I heard was a confusing one since there was very little traditional Black Metal to be found on this entire album. Instead it was a highly pleasant combination of Extreme Metal mixed with some Progressive Metal elements. If my memory serves me right, there was even a Mellotron(!) listed among Herbrand Larsen's arsenal in the liner notes, even though it must have been barely audible. The songs are quite lovely and very memorable, which is something that I can't say about any of the other Black Metal music that I've heard up to that point. Neogenesis was obviously the highlight of the set, a 12 minute epic that sounds almost as if it was performed by Mikael Åkerfeldt and his band. When you think about it, the man pictured on the album cover of Eld does resemble Åkerfeldt a lot! I'm talking about the way Micke looks in person when you meet him on the street on a Sunday stroll through town.

It's been a pleasure revisiting Isa on Spotify and I hope that many more will follow my example here. An excellent piece of music, well worth your attention!

***** star songs: Isa (3:46) Neogenesis (11:58)

**** star songs: Intro: Green Reflection (0:51) Lunar Force (7:03) Ascension (6:45) Bounded By Allegiance (6:38) Violet Dawning (3:49) Return To Yggdrasill (5:39) Secrets Of The Flesh (3:36) Outro: Communion (Excerpt) (0:56)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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