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Enslaved - Riitiir CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.90 | 229 ratings

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5 stars Enslaved "RIITIIR" 9/10

First off, I would like to note the transformation of Enslaved's sound over the years. Having a listen through their first and latest album shows two very different bands. "Vikingligr Veldi" which they debuted in 1994 and demonstrating their intense black/Viking metal sound, and doing it well, is quite a different album to the recently released "RIITIIR", which, 18 years after their first album, holds on to their black metal sound, but having the added bonus of progressive metal elements. Additionally, a lot more clean singing can be found on this recent release, and it is done well. The clean vocals in all tracks hold a haunting vibe, used quite effectively with the beastly screams of Grutle Kjellson, bassist and vocalist. The layers used in this album is fantastic. The subtle notes of symphonic sounds lying under the main instruments adds perfectly to the haunting effect this band has mastered in this LP. Also, after many listens through I can detect very soft but definite vocal layers both clean and un- clean alike. Another great addition to the excellent sound Enslaved has brought throughout RIITIIR. An awesome use of vocal layers that I find sends chills down my spine every time I pass through it, is the final minute or so of "Roots of the Mountain" which I find an excellent balance of clean and un-clean.

This album starts with the heavy and definite riff of "Thoughts Like Hammers" which is quite memorable and bold, yet also simplistic. This track holds on to yet more incredible clean singing, containing an almost content and carefree vibe. The riff work in this song, like the intro, doesn't show off as too complex, but it does an incredible job being simple as it is. Nothing to hate here.

Following "Thoughts Like Hammers" is the track "Death In The Eyes Of Dawn", which is the song I first loved on this album, next to "Forsaken" Like it's preceding track, this song begins fairly simple, and continues this throughout most of the track. Despite this, this song does not fail at all at amazing me every listen through. Another hauntingly beautiful chorus featuring the fantastic clean singing Herbrand Larsen, Keyboard player and vocalist, which he delivers well over the length of the whole song, and the entire album. The song is quite amazingly epic, and features a great end of layered acoustic guitar, finishing the fantastic track.

"Veilburner" is next on the list, and it carries the truly awesome vibe Enslaved is able to start right off the bat, allowing it to flow without arrest. This track again holds the theme of simple riffs, accompanied by progressive sections, clean vocals, Kjellson's incredible screams of glory, and fantastic use of instruments that is Enslaved. However, despite the similar attributes found in the previous tracks, this song holds it own spirit and does not show signs of repetition or possible boredom; "Veilburner" allows the mind to wander through with no disappointment whatsoever.

The fourth track on RIITIIR, titled "Roots Of The Mountain", displays well Enslaved's ability to produce lyrics. With lines such as "And the battles shall forever go on/With peace comes our certain doom/The mother will love as she hates/Where there is life, you will die" it is difficult to argue that Kjellson and/or Bjornson have met with, or even seen, the disease of writer's block.

The previous more or less continues over the next three tracks, respectfully "Riitiir", "Materal" and "Storm Of Memories" each containing unique and incredible use of the RIITIIR formula that works so well. A favourite section of mine is a solo guitar riff followed by an epic wall of progressive black metal that is delivered by the band with talent and power, found mid-way through the title track "Riitiir" This passage demonstrates Enslaved's ability to transition sounds mid-song, and to do it well and with great power and finesse.

Finishing this fantastically awesome album is the epic "Forsaken", which is RIITIIR's longest track, at just over 11 minutes. This song is awesome. It begins with a soft, yet menacing, piano intro, and transitions so very well into a heavy riff and the rest of the song. This is followed by 6 minutes of fantastic progressive black/Viking metal that is the band's speciality. Fast sections, slow sections, it has the works. Following the intense middle, is the outro to both track and album; the ending contains soft guitar and piano notes, accompanied by the once again beautiful clean singing that has helped structure this album.

This album I am incredibly thankful for. It is still fairly new, yet is does not disappoint at all. It contains all that I had hoped for when anticipating its release, and yet more. It holds the perfect blend of sounds and awesome that this genre/style may have to offer. I thought it would be difficult for Enslaved to match or top "Axioma Ethica Odini" but RIITIIR is easily par to Axioma, possibly greater depending on one's opinion. I have loved listening to this LP over and over, each time enjoying it more than the last. I should hope the day I grow tired of this album is the day time does not exist anymore.Takk Enslaved, takk sa maget.

IcedPorcupine | 5/5 |


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