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Enslaved - Riitiir CD (album) cover

RIITIIR

Enslaved

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.88 | 194 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "RIITIIR" is the 12th full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive extreme metal act Enslaved. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in September 2012. While it's been a couple of years since the release of the band's last full-length studio album "Axioma Ethica Odini (2010)", Enslaved have been as productive as ever, releasing the two EPs "The Sleeping Gods" and "Thorn" during 2011. They seem to drink from an ever filled well of inspiration and with "RIITIIR" the water in that well even seems to have been spiked with extra creativity.

Enslaved started out as a black metal act with viking/norse mythology lyrics/imagery and are therefore sometimes refered to as "viking metal", but around the turn of the millenium they started incorporating progressive/psychadelic/space rock ideas to their music. References to acts like Rush and Hawkwind began to appear in the music albeit usually in smaller doses. With time they've increased the amount of progressive ideas and also fully incorporated clean vocals to their music (courtesy of keyboard player Herbrand Larsen). On "RIITIIR", the varied (check out the Alice in Chains like harmony vocals in "Material") clean vocals now share the vocal spot with Grutle Kjellson's trademark raspy distorted vocals. But also the extreme type vocals have become more varied. On "Death in the Eyes of Dawn", Grutle Kjellson's vocals are at times closer to growls than they are to black metal styled raspy vocals.

At 67:17 minutes, "RIITIIR" is Enslaved's longest album to date. Most of the 8 tracks on the album exceed the 8 minute mark, but the relatively long playing time is spend wisely. "RIITIIR" is without a doubt the most ambitous, progressive and epic album Enslaved have yet released. It's majestic in every way possible. Intriguing song structures, crushingly heavy riffing and progressive ideas spiced up by the above mentioned raw/clean vocals are some of the ingredients that make up "RIITIIR". The tracks are varied both within tracks and between tracks, and as a result "RIITIIR" is a memorable and entertaining listen all the way through the relatively long playing time.

The material is exceptionally strong even by Enslaved's usual high standards. The fact that "RIITIIR" is graced by a powerful, dynamic, warm and organic sound production full of details, only further enhances the listening experience and the feeling that Enslaved might have topped themselves with this one. Tracks like the opening "Thoughts Like Hammers", "Roots of the Mountain" and the closing "Forsaken" are simply among the best material written by the band. The way the music features both great melodic qualities (the clean vocals and the exceptionally melodic lead guitar work) and more raw and brutal ditto, is a rare treat, when it works as well as it does here. The band's black metal past is not that evident in the music on this album. A couple of faster paced parts (most notably in the fantastic "Roots of the Mountain" and in "Storm of Memories") and Grutle Kjellson's aggressive raspy sneer are just about the only elements on the album that point in a black metal direction. Epic progressive extreme metal sounds more valid to my ears.

Few albums are able to not only be instantly enjoyable but also intriguing enough to not become at least a bit tiresome after a while. "RIITIIR" is one of the few albums that features those exact qualities. The large amount of songwriting details provide the album with a longivity that not many releases possess and that's just one out of many great qualities "RIITIIR" features. Everything seem to come together in just the right way to make "RIITIIR" the really special album it is. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 5/5 |

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