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Enslaved - Vikingligr Veldi CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.50 | 76 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Even back in 1994, Enslaved was a bit of an 'odd duck' in the Norwegian black metal scene. Whereas many of the genre's forerunners were busy writing Satanic lyrics, burning down churches, or (in the case of Varg Vikernes and Euronymous) killing each other, Enslaved instead focused on creating a - for the time period, at least - very strange blend of ice cold black metal, symphonic keyboards, viking themed lyrics, and seventies' progressive rock. Although the progressive tendencies are hardly as noticeable as they would soon become, they were prominent enough to allow Vikingligr Veldi to stand out from the hordes of Mayhem and Burzum clones on the scene. I wouldn't venture to say this is one of the best Enslaved albums, but Vikingligr Veldi is a very highly recommended purchase for those who enjoy raw old school black metal with a few unique twists.

At its core, Vikingligr Veldi is very firmly rooted in Norwegian black metal. Lots of fast blast-beats, tremolo picked guitar riffs, and throaty vocals are found here, but Enslaved also throw some symphonic keyboards and ambient influences into the mix for good measure. I do hear a very strong Burzum influence here - like many of Varg's masterworks, the tracks are very long and repetitive, thus creating a rather hypnotic effect on the listener. Enslaved has an additional progressive edge that sets them apart, though, and I absolutely love when the synthesizers come into play. They really help flesh out the overall experience and give some melodic hooks for the listener to grab onto.

Later works from Enslaved are known for their crystal-clear production and tight musicianship, but that wasn't at all the case on Vikingligr Veldi. Like almost all black metal albums from this era, the musicianship is a bit sloppy and the production is just about as raw and unpolished as they come. That hopefully shouldn't scare away any potential listeners, though - the raw production suits the chilling atmosphere of Vikingligr Veldi perfectly, and the unpolished musicianship never gets in the way of my enjoyment.

Looking back on Vikingligr Veldi over fifteen years since its initial release, it's pretty clear that this promising Norwegian black metal act would go on to do much greater things over the span of their career. Enslaved has since released plenty of genre-defining progressive black metal albums, and even though this debut is damn good in my eyes, it's not one of their most essential purchases if you're looking to get into them. Still, Vikingligr Veldi is very much worth a look from any fan of Enslaved as well as old school Norwegian black metal in general. This is one of the better black metal albums from the early ninties', and as such deserves at least 3.5 stars. Though not an essential purchase, Vikingligr Veldi is a very promising start for these extreme metal behemoths.

J-Man | 3/5 |


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