Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Enslaved Below The Lights album cover
4.01 | 80 ratings | 8 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. As Fire Swept Clean the Earth (6:35)
2. The Dead Stare (5:37)
3. The Crossing (9:11)
4. Queen of Night (5:59)
5. Havenless (5:35)
6. Ridicule Swarm (6:18)
7. A Darker Place (7:01)

Total Time: 46:16


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ivar Bjшrnson / guitars, keyboards, effectors
- Arve Isdal / lead guitar
- Grutle Kjellson / vocals, bass
- Dirge Rep / drums

Guest musicians:
- Dennis Reksten / synthesizers FX
- Inge Rypdal / lead guitars (7)
- Gina Torgnes / flute (4)
- Bшrgvin Tungrock Kor (Aesgeir, Dirge Rep, Enslaved, Kai, Kеre) / chorus (5)

Releases information

CD Osmose Productions (April 2003)

Thanks to ivansfr0st for the addition
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Nuclear Blast America 2010
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Candlelight 2005
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Below the LightsBelow the Lights
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ENSLAVED Below The Lights ratings distribution

(80 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ENSLAVED Below The Lights reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Isa
4 stars |B| Excellent black metal with plenty of King Crimson influences!

Really there's very little by this band I've heard so for that hasn't at the very least impressed me, and this album is certainly no exception. Enslaved is one of the leading bands in all of black metal, and developed into progressive tendencies, not unlike what Death did for death metal. Only instead of finding more technicality, we find a more atmospheric approach to the composition, which fits perfectly with the sort of sound-scape-ish nature of the original black metal style. Unlike many metal bands, prog or not, this band seems to avoid power chords and go straight for dissonance with the guitar work, and combine this dissonance with the adventurous composition of King Crimson and Pink Floyd, and eventually Rush as well in the following albums. The result is powerful, cohesive, quality progressive black metal.

Any fan of the band can expect to find, as with all of their other albums, something that overall distinguishes this from their other releases. This would, unfortunately, also be their last album to include distinctly viking folk influences, such as the opening chants in the track Havenless. This viking folk element is combined with well-polished black metal, along with many things that bring to mind such albums as In the Court of the Crimson King and Red, as well as Meddle or Dark Side of the Moon. This "prog" side of the band would only grow with further releases, creating work that towers almost everything else in extreme metal, in my mind.

So yes, brilliant black metal crunching riffs, as usual for the band, along with a mixture of black metal and clean vocals, prog nuances with mellotron and keyboard effects, and viking nuances in various tracks, drumming on this album is more relaxed than in most of the band's other work, even after this album, which I kind of like even more. The most energetic it gets is the black metal type of blast beats in Ridicule Swarm. All of these elements combine to make this album something very unique and great, defying categorization (other than "progressive black metal"), progressing their sound from album to album, just as all of the truly great prog bands do.

The fan of extreme prog metal, especially those who don't mind the black metal side of the genre, really 'ought to check out this band and much of their discography, the entirety of which I plan on purchasing, eventually. This is one of the best bands in this sub-genre as far as I'm concerned, and it greatly pleases me that they've been getting more attention for their work lately. Highly recommended to any fan of prog or metal. Essential to listeners of black metal.


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Send comments to Isa (BETA) | Report this review (#221600) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Review by Bonnek
4 stars I didn't get to hear any Enslaved album untill Below The Lights hit the shelves. It was quite a discovery and it has held a strong position in my charts ever since. Musically it is a continuation of Monumension, but it manages to stay clear of the cold experimentalism of that album and merges Enslaved's prog ambitions with a rocking energy.

The opening track is a treat. Signature Voivod riffs, varying time signatures and an elaborate song structure. It has a very aggressive bite and a number of blast beating attacks that rival their 90's albums. The Dead Stare is even better. It starts as a blackened version of Voivod again with Grutle Kjellson's screech in fine form. But around minute 2 magic happens. Enslaved realizes their prog potential here and dive into an extended psychedelic jam boosted by a forceful riff. Hazy vocals, organs and effects weave a big spacey atmosphere around it.

Enslaved found their momentum now and add another batch of some of their best compositions. The Crossing opens with 4 minutes of fine instrumental prog before it changes into an astounding composition that nicely varies their high black metal pitch with more laid-back melodic vocals. The hand of Voivod and the psychedelic daze of early Floyd is never far off.

Queen of The Night opens with a nice bit of Mahavishnu jazz rock before the sharp neurotic chromatic riffs kick in again. Havenless ends this strong string of intense music with a tribute to the pagan chants of their black metal years. Somehow I've never fully got into the two remaining tracks on the album. They contain some fine sections but somehow they don't compare to what preceded. They fail to add remarkable riffs or any other element to make them stand out.


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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#264900) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 08, 2010

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Below The Lights' - Enslaved (8/10)

Although- in my humblest of opinions- Enslaved has never played a 'typical' sound for black metal, it is an irrefutable fact that the band has made steps towards a more progressive and left-of-center sound with each new release. Before releasing what are now considered to be their greatest 'prog' albums, Enslaved experimented with the new prog rock elements with such albums as 'Monumension' and this; 2003's 'Below The Lights'. Personally, I have found that the band started off quite strong, but took some time to properly incorporate the prog fixtures into their sound. It is surprising then, that 'Below The Light's has worked out to become one of my favourite Enslaved records to date. Despite still sounding like a progressive metal that was still trying to get on their feet, Enslaved shows some of their greatest promised here, delivering the same ferocity they had starting out, with the new additions to create a record that is flawed, but all too pleasantly so. An excellent album from these Norwegian black metallers.

Although I am sure it will put off the orthodox black metal fans like a bad case of the bubonic plague, 'Below The Lights' starts off with a melancholic mellotron passage; a surprisingly effective way to lead the listener into the intense riffing to come. The closest comparison I could draw to this combination of styles would be Opeth, due to the fact that both bands combine black metal and prog rock, but don't necessarily blend the two as one. In other words, there are aspects of the mix that are uniquely 'prog' and others that stay true to Enslaved's roots. Regardless of this though, the sounds generally work together quite well, and when they don't, it seems to be more a fault of the album's rather inconsistent production, which is certainly cleaner than on Enslaved's earlier material, but it's sometimes muddy and flawed sounding recording makes it sound like the engineer was more of a weekend warrior than a full-time professional. Be this as it may, Enslaved's performance is none the lesser for it.

While I am quite a fan of the music that Enslaved makes, and has made over the past twenty years, their presentation of the music sometimes lacks the sort of bite that I would generally come to expect in black metal, and things are no different with 'Below The Lights'. Although nowhere near as big an offender as 'Isa' when it comes to sounding cold, the way the guitar riffs are played sometimes feel a little too by-the-numbers and lack some organic feeling that would have otherwise made the music come more alive. In the scheme of most of Enslaved's progressive albums though, this one is certainly performed with a greater level of intensity, and the music is made all the more enjoyable for it.

In terms of album flow, cohesion was certainly not the biggest priority on the band's agenda at this point, but the first six tracks flow with some nice precision. The first and sixth tracks ('As Fire Swept Clean The Earth' and 'Ridicule Swarm', respectively) both open up with similar mellotron passages, and it feels as if it gives this series of songs a nice 'beginning and finish' feeling to them. The seventh track is- of course- the true closer to the album, but in terms of listening to the album, it does feel as if it is left out from the way that the record was put together.

Enslaved's 'Below The Lights' is certainly flawed, and the flaws are pronounced enough to clearly identify them in my eyes. However, it is the added sense of organism that this album has that endears me to it above many other albums by the band. An excellent album from Enslaved, and a great marker of the band's progress up to this point in their career.


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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#445480) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Below the Lights" is the 7th full-length studio album by Norwegian black metal act Enslaved. The album was released in April 2003 by Osmose Productions. Incorporating more and more progressive elements into their "core" black metal sound over the last couple of albums, "Below the Lights" is probably one of the most progressive and diverse releases yet by Enslaved.

...while still being rooted in black metal, the music on "Below the Lights" features quite a few elements from 70s progressive/ experimental rock. Especially the occasionally used mellotron and organ lead my thoughts in that direction. As and example the mellotron intro to the opening track "As Fire Swept Clean the Earth" has that epic yet melancholic feel to it that I also associate with the intro the "Watcher Of The Skies" by Genesis. I donīt think itīs a coincidence that "As Fire Swept Clean the Earth" is the opening track on "Below the Lights" just as "Watcher Of The Skies" is the opening track on the album where it is featured (that would be "Foxtrot (1972)"). The closing repetitive and quite spacy sounding minutes of "The Dead Stare" have a very obvious Hawkwind sound to it (nice psychadelic sounding synth effects) and is another example of the strong 70s progressive/space rock vibe that is present on "Below the Lights". Or maybe take a listen to the intro to "Queen of Night" which features flute and a prog folky sound.

When that is said "Below the Lights" probably isnīt an album that will suit the taste of many "regular" progressive rock fans who arenīt accostumed to extreme metal. The vocals are for the most part still very extreme and delivered in an aggressive raspy sneer. There are occasional clean vocals featured on the album too, but they are not that dominant. "Below the Lights" is a very diverse album and while thatīs not always a strength in my book as too much diversity has a tendency to ruin consistency, itīs an asset here. In addition to the progressive elements I mentioned above youīll find both blasting black metal sections, blackened thrashy sections, epic atmospheric sections and a viking chant no less. The latter occurs in the track "Havenless" and to be honest I found it quite silly to begin with, not being a great fan of viking or folk metal in general, but itīs kinda grown on me and Iīve come to the realization that it sits quite well on the album and brings a different atmosphere to the table that makes the album even more long lasting that it already is. The album features enough variation for you to return to it again and again.

The sound production is enjoyable but compared to later more mature and well produced releases by Enslaved, I think it leaves a bit to be desired. On the other hand I like the rawness and unpolished sound of "Below the Lights", so I guess the sound isnīt an issue in the end.

"Below the Lights" is a very strong album showcasing both Enslavedīs black metal past and progressive extreme metal future. Itīs a distinct sounding album both compared to the rest of the bandīs own discograpy but also compared to extreme metal in general. Itīs an album thatīs taken a while to grow on me, but patience has paid off this time. A 4.5 star rating is fully deserved.


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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#558855) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review by Warthur
4 stars This mysterious and melancholy piece of progressive black metal sees Enslaved exploring further sonic possibilities of the walls of guitar noise and mellotron waves they create. The highlight of the album must be the incredible The Crossing, particularly the turning point in the song when a folk-tinged instrumental lament takes an abrupt left turn into a harsh black metal rant. There are many such twists and turns between beauty and harsh, pounding ugliness on the album, which represents a great example of a band from the classic era of Norwegian black metal embracing growth, experimentation and musical change successfully. Four and a half stars, easily.


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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#659699) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Below The Lights is, in my opinion, the reason black metal was ever created. A masterpiece without a doubt, this album will take to beautiful as well as very frightening places. I've never heard before, of a band that captures the essence of 70s progressive rock so well without actually trying to ... (read more)

Report this review (#300167) | Posted by Revan | Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Below the Lights is an excellent Black Metal release by progressive black metal band Enslaved. There's lot's of creativity in the album, and from the beginning one should know that they aren't in for a ride of a standard metal album OR a standard prog album, because "As Fire Swept Clean The Ea ... (read more)

Report this review (#221579) | Posted by topofsm | Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Their best work! Enslaved was formed in 1991, by Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson. Joined by drummer Trym Torsson, they did their first demo in the summer of 1992. They started out as a Viking/Black metal band and then developed their own uniqe style that we know today. Below the Lights" were ... (read more)

Report this review (#118445) | Posted by Kid.A | Sunday, April 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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