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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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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Unlike most of their contemporaries in the early Norwegian black metal scene, Enslaved did not seek to express pure aggression and anger, or spit bile at Christianity, or roar forth the praises of Satan, or express a depressive sort of misanthropy. Instead, their lyrical foundation on this album was based around their appreciation of ancient Viking myths - and not in a "we're going to smash the Judeo-Christians and take back our land sort of way" or a "we are deeply sad that our pagan heritage is gone" way, as with Bathory's early Viking metal pieces. Instead, they simply present the myths and say "Here, these are the stories of our people, enjoy them"; the lyrics express a mood of quiet confidence and peace with the world, with what violence there is emerging not from people but from the wild and untamed forces of nature as expressed by the gods.

This lyrical foundation is supported by their musical approach. Though Grutle bellows forth the lyrics in a wild black metal shriek, to my ears his approach is more declarative and proclamatory than aggressive and brutal, and underpinning the wall of noise established by the guitars is some truly unexpectedly gentle, melodic, and peaceful synthesiser lines from Ivar. Whereas Emperor and their successors used synthesisers to create a grand sense of symphonic pomp and ceremony surrounding their music, and Varg Vikernes used them for dark ambient experimentation, Emperor of all the black metal bands seem to want us to chill out, relax, and let their synthesiser melodies sooth us in the midst of the chaotic guitar squalls which evoke the storms of long-ago Scandinavian winters.

In short, this debut album takes a unique approach to black metal and sets Enslaved on their own highly individual trajectory, and as such I think it's one of the most genuinely innovative and experimental works in the early genre.

Warthur | 4/5 |

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