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Enslaved - Vikingligr Veldi CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.50 | 76 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
3 stars This album works as more of a droning experience than a fist pumping headbanging adventure. It's like watching paint dry, but with the paint being an exceptionally interesting and alluring color. The album title also sounds like some sort of hard liquor beverage, which I personally consider another plus.

With five songs and a total length of over fifty minutes, one of them being a reasonably long instrumental, the proggish ambition is certainly there and Enslaved hit the Norwegian scene immediately with long epics draped with atmosphere that was chilly though not necessarily morbid or evil (although their prior EP Hordanes Land felt pretty dark). The aura for this album is more of a majestic statement, particularly concerning tracks like "Midgards Eldar", which entice me to climb up high mountains and stare across the vast landscape in sheer glory as the sun sets beyond the horizon. Then I get chilly and hungry and wonder what the hell I was thinking. Vikingligr Veldi doesn't cause that unfortunate after-effect, but there are times, particularly during the first few listens, that the droning repetitive nature of some of these songs can get tiresome. I acknowledge that Enslaved were going for establishing an atmosphere that takes one back to Nordic times when mead was drunk from a large animal horn, but stretching a song to twice its length to establish a mood is a tricky venture if what is being stretched is not engaging enough to warrant such a monumental extension.

Musically it doesn't stray far from Norwegian black metal, with some cool riffs here and there, a few oddly interesting keyboards and an enthusiastic drummer who probably spends a lot of time panting when he's away from the kit. It does stand out from the more satanic stuff Norway was pumping out in droves at the time by avoiding most of the non music based clichés (corpsepaint, killing each other, etc.) and focusing on soundscapes that actually work in establishing a unique tone to their work that few of their peers could touch. It's a landmark album, and a classic concerning Norway's black metal scene, but Enslaved would eventually evolve into something even greater, while many other black metal bands had hit their peak in the early 90s and were about to slide into also-rans.

Prog Sothoth | 3/5 |


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