Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Enslaved Riitiir album cover
3.99 | 177 ratings | 7 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Thoughts Like Hammers
2. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn
3. Veilburner
4. Roots Of The Mountain
5. Riitiir
6. Materal
7. Storm Of Memories
8. Forsaken


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Grutle Kjellson / bass, vocals, additional synthesizer
- Ivar Bj?rnson / lead & rhythm guitars, synthesizer
- Arve Isdal / lead & rhythm guitars
- Herbrand Larsen / keyboards, synthesizers, organ, vocals
- Cato Bekkevold / drums, percussion

Releases information

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: September 28 (Europe) and October 4 (North America), 2012
Format: CD, 2 LP gatefold

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Axioma Ethica OdiniAxioma Ethica Odini
Nuclear Blast America 2010
Audio CD$4.84
$4.49 (used)
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Candlelight 2004
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Osmose Productions 2007
Audio CD$10.80
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Below the LightsBelow the Lights
Osmose Productions 2003
Audio CD$13.21
$10.80 (used)
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ENSLAVED Riitiir ratings distribution

(177 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

ENSLAVED Riitiir reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.


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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#845394) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 26, 2012

Review by Bonnek
5 stars Enslaved's 'Riitiir' has been met with near unanimous praise on the web from the moment it was released. I must say I really envy the critics in question as Enslaved albums are always a big challenge for me to get into. And 'Riitiir' is certainly no exception, even after 10 years of fanboyism for this band, the full 67 minutes of the latest album have been a daunting task to digest. It took no less then 5 listens before it's intrinsic qualities edged their way into my appreciation.

While immediately recognizable as an Enslaved opus, 'Riitiir' is quite different from preceding 'Axioma Ethica Odini' from 2010. Tracks are much longer, clocking in between 8 and 11 minutes with only one track below 7 minutes. It makes the album less direct and immediate then 'AEO'. Less aggressive as well, as more space is reserved for clean melodic parts and instrumental development. In other words, it's another step up towards full-fledged progressive metal. Without the cheese luckily, as the snarls and the vicious black bite are still an essential feature of the sound, as are the groovy riffs and spacious arrangements.

Conclusion, fans of Opeth that have been somewhat confused by their recent direction and that would have wished them to continue the furious and atmospheric prog-metal of "Blackwater Park" and "My Arms Your Hearse" need to get this 67 minute masterpiece from Enslaved. In their own unique way Enslaved managed to produce an equally captivating mix of epic frosty metal and prog complexity. Second astounding album in a row for a band 20 years into their career. Not bad, not bad at all !


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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#858950) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'RIITIIR' - Enslaved (9/10)

In almost every article about this band I've read recently, there's a repeated emphasis on how remarkably consistent Enslaved are when it comes to releasing new material. In truth, I'd tend to agree with this statement. Although I don't enjoy their Viking-styled material nearly as much as the more traditional black metal or later progressive incarnations, these guys have managed to develop and evolve with each new album, With that being said, it's no surprise that "RIITIIR" continues to embellish the band's progressive sensibilities. While previous albums "Vertebrae" and "Axioma Ethica Odini" both showcased a rich progressive black metal sound, "RIITIIR" sees them pushing their ambitious nature to new heights. In short, it's arguably the best album of their career, although I imagine most of us weren't expecting any less from them.

The musical evolution from "Axioma..." to "RIITIIR" is reserved, but noticeable. For one, these are some of the longest song structures the band has ever contended with. With most of the tracks resting around the nine minute mark, there is the strong impression that Enslaved have decided to loosen the restraints on some of their songwriting, allowing the compositions more time to develop textures and ideas. Although there remain traces of the original black metal sound, the current Enslaved shares very little in common with its older incarnations. Although some of the riffs recall the band's heritage as part of the Norwegian Second Wave, there's just as much of a drawn influence from 1970's space and psychedelic rock. If Enslaved had not already crossed this point already, it seems unfitting to label them as a black metal band now, when there's so much about them that turns its nose at the genre.

"Thoughts Like Hammers" is the opening track and pre-released 'sneak preview' fans had of "RIITIIR" before the album was released. At nine and a half minutes long, it is filled with meaty riffs and familiar atmosphere, boosted by a unconventional song structure and several mood changes. Although Enslaved have done this sort of thing before, it feels most natural with "RIITIIR". The powerful highlight "Death in the Eyes of Dawn" and majestic "Roots of the Mountain" both showcase an affinity with vocal melodies. Although the clean vocals have not always been a 'high point' with Enslaved, Herbrand Larsen's voice has never sounded better. Thanks to Iver Sandøy's suggestion to branch out into a 'live reocrding' style, Enslaved's production has never sounded warmer or better suited for their progressive sound. A somewhat mechanical sound of production was something I had long felt held back some of Enslaved's more recent material, but the issue is cured in full on "RIITIIR". There are details in the performance and arrangement that will reward attentive listeners.

Although "RIITIIR" does not disappoint on any level, there is the sense that the album's second half is not quite as engaging as the first. Up to and including "Roots of the Mountain", there is not a second of filler; particularly in the way "Thoughts Like Hammers" and "Death in the Eyes of Dawn" cope with structure, the ways the musical ideas are organized is close to perfection. The less ambitious title track and "Storm of Memories" are less concerned with this optimal usage of time however. The performance is kept up to an incredible par throughout the album, but certain musical ideas eel dragged out longer than they should have been, as if to keep up with the 'extended song structure' approach. Especially keeping in mind that much of the album manages to achieve that long-sought for perfection, it's disappointing that the album is given a somewhat anti-climactic end. Although "Forsaken" opens on one of the album's highest points, the final four minutes of the album are left for a quiet, repetitive guitar idea, akin to something Neurosis might do. I think it could have worked well as a denouement to an otherwise intense and complex listening experience, but it's drawn out past the limit where it would have worked best.

"RIITIIR" is certainly the best Enslaved have ever sounded, with a production and performance standard rivaled by virtually none in their style. The decision to further explore the progressive realm has worked very well, employing use of some of the vintage 70's sounds while sounding as musically relevant as ever. With that in mind, I'm still not sure if I prefer this over "Vertebrae" or "Axioma Ethica Odini". Although some aspects of the band have been finally boosted to perfection, there are times when a more concise approach would have worked better. Regardless, Enslaved have brought the spirit of the classic progressive rock album to extreme metal, and done it in such a way that it will be surprising if people aren't still talking about it years from now. If Opeth's attempt to crossover fully into the prog realm with "Heritage" was only an ambivalent success, Enslaved have achieved a 'vintage' sound without losing any bit of what made them excellent in the first place.


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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#866984) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 26, 2012

Review by J-Man
5 stars Of all the bands in modern black metal, Enslaved seems to be the one that amazes me most with their ability to evolve with each new release while still remaining consistently excellent each step of the way. Beginning as a pure black metal act in the early nineties', the Norwegian collective went on to explore viking-themed metal for a few albums, until eventually settling on a more progressive-oriented style that they've been refining and experimenting with for the past decade or so. RIITIIR is the band's twelfth full-length observation, and was released in 2012 to virtually unchallenged acclaim within the metal community. Its rich and diverse blend of extreme and progressive styles of black metal makes for an album that is as heavy as it is intelligent, and a very worthy follow-up to 2010's stunning Axioma Ethica Odini. RIITIIR is a powerful, innovative, and overall killer album that may be Enslaved's finest masterwork to date. Amazing.

RIITIIR is a challenging album for those unacquainted with the more progressive side of black metal; with nearly seventy minutes of material split between only eight tracks, this is a long album that will probably require some additional attention from most listeners. Thankfully, there are lots of great melodies and epic compositions to suck you in from the first listen, and the immaculate arrangements continue to reveal their brilliance over many spins. The music draws extensively from atmospheric black metal and seventies' progressive rock, but RIITIIR rarely sounds exclusively like one or the other. The epic black metal atmospheres are blended seamlessly with complex progressive touches, leading to a sound that is both coherent and unique. Although black metal purists may cry foul at the progressive song structures, heavy use of Herbrand Larsen's clean vocals, and unorthodox riff structure, I think it's resulted in one of the most creative black metal observations in years. Plenty of desperate grunts and rasps, lightning-fast riffs, and whirlwind blastbeats assure that Enslaved's place as a black metal band is not a thing of the past, although the music heard on RIITIIR is very far removed from anything resembling 'pure' black metal.

"Thoughts Like Hammers" opens RIITIIR with a bang, with its crushing riffs and majestic melodies immediately setting the tone for the rest of the album. "Death In the Eyes of Dawn" is my personal favorite from RIITIIR; the contrast between Grutle Kjellson's demonic grunts and Herbrand Larsen's powerful clean voice is beautiful, and the atmospheres created by the keyboards are wonderfully epic. Other favorites of mine include "Roots of the Mountain", which has some of the most devastating black metal carnage that you'll hear on the whole album (as well as an excellent melodic chorus), the highly progressive "Storm of Memories" (the opening wouldn't sound out of place on a King Crimson record), and the closing track "Forsaken". This one strikes me as the most experimental track on the album, with its multiple sections and meditative ending pushing the boundaries of Enslaved's sound. And, really, that's what this entire album does - it brings Enslaved's sound into uncharted territory, and although the entire thing sounds distinctly like these Norwegian vikings, RIITIIR brings their style to new heights.

Enslaved are at the top of the extreme progressive metal world right now, and RIITIIR once again solidifies their spot as one of the genre's leading acts. It's wildly creative, flawless in its execution, and, most importantly of all, it contains some of the most memorable extreme metal I've heard in a while. RIITIIR is the sound of true musical visionaries, and all fans of epic progressive black metal deserve to hear this breathtaking masterpiece.


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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#885570) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is the first ENSLAVED album i've heard and it's in no small way because of the slew of 5 star reviews i've seen over the last few months. Some might think i'm crazy but this band sounds to me like a combination of AGALLOCH and OPETH. OPETH during the clean vocal parts where the music reminds a little of "Blackwater Park" and AGALLOCH because of the similar sounding growly vocals. Norway is the country where most of my favourite albums from 2012 come from for some reason.

"Thoughts Like Hammers" starts off heavily with a barrage of drums and sound. Then we get the main theme with growly vocals and clean vocals. Great sound before 2 minutes then the clean vocals kick back in. So good. Growls are back after 3 minutes with the clean vocals also helping out once again. Check out the calm after 5 minutes with picked guitar. Nice. It kicks back in. Another calm with spoken words this time before 6 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in. An incredible opener ! "Death In The Eyes Of Dawn" opens with a good full sound but not too heavy as the growly vocals join in. It picks up after 1 1/2 minutes with the clean vocals and growly vocals taking turns. Beautiful section before 3 minutes with clean vocals. Growls are back quickly though. Nice guitar solo 4 1/2 minutes in. Growls follow and some cool sounding guitar work. Themes are repeated.

"Veilburner" opens with an awesome instrumental display then the growls kick in after a minute. Clean vocals take over before 2 minutes as the drums pound away. We get dual vocals 3 minutes in then back to the clean vocals and prominant drums. Dual vocals again 5 minutes in. Good song but not as good as the first two tracks. "Roots Of The Mountain" opens with the lyrics being spit out with those raspy vocals. The drums pound as the guitars light it up. Clean vocals follow. A calm before 2 minutes then they let loose again. Check out the guitar after 3 minutes. An intense instrumental section kicks in before 4 minutes then the vocals return 4 1/2 minutes in. All hell breaks loose after 5 1/2 minutes. It settles back before 7 minutes with Post-Rock styled guitars. Growls a minute later. Just a killer track !

"RIITIIR" is the shortest track at 5 1/2 minutes. We get a nice uptempo intro that settles back some when the clean vocals arrive. Growls follow but they will continue to be contrasted. "Material" opens with atmosphere as the drums join in followed by a full sound. This is good. That catchy beat stops as it turns intense with those raspy vocals. Back to that beat and clean vocals as contrasts continue. "Storm Of Memories" is like a storm instrumentally with so much going on. The vocals before 3 1/2 minutes are raspy. Clean vocals take over a minute later. Growls come in at 5 1/2 minutes and last a minute when the clean vocals return. It's more intense late with raspy vocals.

"Forsaken" opens with keyboards and while one of the guys does play keys, synths and organ they are usually used to pad the sound or create atmosphere. The song kicks in with growly vocals. The synths before 4 minutes pulse which surprised me I must say. Almost electronic sounding here as the vocals, drums and guitars have all stopped. Cool ! Drums are back after 5 minutes. Growly vocals join in before 6 minutes. Great sound here with all that atmosphere in the background. A calm follows and continues with almost spoken vocals to the end. Man that is such an amazing tune and a top three for me along with "Thoughts Like Hammers" and "Death In The Eyes Of Dawn".

I don't see how OPETH fans wouldn't love this album to be honest. Maybe the best Metal album of 2012.


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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#904161) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 01, 2013

Latest members reviews

2 stars Okay, here I go (again): Getting on my soapbox to incur the wrath and ire of fellow music lovers. sorry. I have honestly been listening to this music for over a month (though I must admit that I can only take a song or two at a time). Exactly how is this music good? Haven't you all read the bo ... (read more)

Report this review (#876122) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Saturday, December 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 meta ... (read more)

Report this review (#849837) | Posted by IcedPorcupine | Saturday, November 03, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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