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Enslaved Ruun album cover
3.96 | 140 ratings | 16 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Entroper (6:21)
2. Path to Vanir (4:25)
3. Fusion of Sense and Earth (5:00)
4. Runn (6:49)
5. Tides of Chaos (5:16)
6. Essence (6:18)
7. Api-Vat (6:57)
8. Heir to the Cosmic Seed (4:55)

Total Time 46:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Grutle Kjellson / vocals, bass
- Ivar Bjørnson / guitar, Fx
- Arve Isdal / guitar
- Herbrand Larsen / keyboards, vocals
- Cato Bekkevold / drums & percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Truls Espedal

CD Tabu Recordings ‎- TABU 022 (2006, Norway)

LP Back On Black ‎- BoBV050LP (2006, UK)

Thanks to Bryan for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ENSLAVED Ruun ratings distribution

(140 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ENSLAVED Ruun reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trickster F.
4 stars One of the best releases this year.

Ruun, Enslaved's latest album is the group's further progression from their later efforts. Former forward-thinking Norwegian black/viking metal musicians continue to develop their music and this is perhaps their best album when it comes to appeal to prog fans. There is one noteworthy fact about Enslaved: since the beginning of their professional career they had a vast diversity of influences, yet managed to sound like nobody else, which explains why each of their records was done in their oqn unique sound and still featured some nuances the group had yet touched before. Ruun is not an exception, as you can both point out some similarities with its ambitious predecessor Isa and witness a new, fresh sound of the group.

Entroper opens the album with a short mellotron intro, which is a nice way to open the release and, in addition, to remind the fans about the 70's symphonic rock influence: it sounds like something Genesis would have done in their Golden Days. Don't get tricked by this though, Enslaved aren't one of the many progmetal groups who try to bring back the 70's sound back. Still, if you are influenced by something, it does not necessarily mean you have to resemble your influences in sound. Keyboards are used throughout the album on occassions and serve the background function instead of soloing. Going back to the track, this has one of their most memorable compositions in their long career: the fast, energetic riffs, tempo changes and trademark black metal rasps make this a solid, uplifting number, which has the original Enslaved feeling of cold and stiffness. Some clean chants can be found here which add that extra something the track seems to have needed. The bass line, which is repeated twice, also contributes to the composition.Path To Vanir follows and it is a slower paced track with a catchy riff, background 70's sounding keyboards which help to create the apropriate vibe. The song is interrupted by a clean part with vocals that remind me of Robert Wyatt for some reason. Fusion Of Sense and Earth is next and it is one of the heaviest songs on the album, with great, speedy riffs and a black metal approach to drumming. The title track continues the dark journey and is one of the most epic songs here, with a unique eastern melody line and haunting clean singing. Another noteworthy song is Essence, which features a duo of Grutle's growls and Herbrand Larsen 's clean singing - an extraordinary vocal "harmony", making it one of the album's most melancholic and dreary numbers. Next is Api-Vat, with a great melodic guitar solo, which isn't really something the group throws around mindlessly, and relentless guitar riffing. The intro and outro of this track are particularly moody. Heir to the Cosmic Seed closes the album with its intro bass line, mesmerizing riffs and more variety in both clean and harsh vocals. This is where the albums ends, unoftunately, not even passing the fifty minute mark.

Overall, Ruun is a solid album in the Extreme Metal genre and one of the best albums this year so far. I can predict that it will not be an easy record to beat. Those who have been following the group until Isa and were satisfied with what they heard will definitely appreciate the group's latest record, those who stopped caring after Blodhemn(directed towards true black metal fans, obviously) will not find much of interest here. The musicians have stopped doing general black metal music a long time ago and are still impossible to categorise, which isn't really a bad thing. This album is also a good way to introduce yourself to Enslaved if you aren't familiar with their music, as it is the album that is closer to what is more traditionally accepted as progmetal(not trying to belittle their past efforts!). The harsh side of the vocals here isn't over the top or as even extreme, so this experience will not disturb even those prejudiced against the use of harsh vocals in music.

Any fan of progressive metal or just interesting modern prog in general will feel comoftable with Ruun in his collection! Still, remember that this is in no way an accessible effort - the group always manage to craft their compositions carefully with each album, making every album a refreshing experience, which truly unfolds only after a few listens!

An excellent addition for any Progressive Metal fan!

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

Yes this is not for the faint hearted fairy prog listener. Allthough Enslaved has many prog leanings they are essentially a metal band, both in attitude and as you can see from my quote from the song Tides of Chaos very much through their lyrics. They are actually one of the few black metal bands who have broken free of their original style but still kept their credibility in the black metal world ( Unlike bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth).

Bearing in mind their Black metal/ Viking metal past itīs really great to see how Enslaved have developed their special brand of metal over the last couple of years. I didnīt use to like Enslaved very much before I heard ISA, which is their previous album. It was a wonderful surprise to me even though I had a hard time adjusting to Grutle Kjellsonīs harsh vocals ( listening to his voice, Iīm afraid that any minut he will start to vomit blood). Itīs not that I am a novice to death and black metal bands since Iīve been listening to extreme metal for the last 20 years ( Prog rock too of course, but metal is my other great interest), but I still found Grutleīs vocals to be extreme to my ears. Once I got used to his vocals ( I even like them now), the beauty of Enslavedīs music unfolded to me. On this the successor to ISA, Enslaved have gotten even better. Ruun is a masterpiece.

Enslaved even though many catagorize them as Black metal, donīt really sound much like the average black metal band. First of all Enslaved play in mid-tempo or slow most of the time, many other black metal bands use these tempi as well, but most commonly black metal bands play fast tempi ( blast beats). Enslavedīs music is very melodic, though their melodies are hidden. They donīt wear their melodies on their sleeve. This is the beauty of their music in my ears. You have to really listen to fully understand. It took me a while.

Fans of Opeth should really give Enslaved a chance, as the two bands play a similar style of Death metal with seventies prog leanings ( yes I said death metal and not Black Metal as I think the only thing that links Enslaved to black metal is their past and Grutleīs vocal). Opeth is much more complex than Enslaved though. Enslaved emphasize pretty simple instrumentation and riffs, but with much emotion incorporated. Itīs not melodic in the swedish way though itīs more subtle ( and thank you for that). Vintage keyboard sounds are omnipresent on RUUN, and that is the seventies link. Like Opeth, Enslaved use both growling and clean vocals. The clean vocals ( by Herbrand Larsen) from Enslaved are a bit different from Mikael âkerfeldtīv clean vocal style though. More chanting and simple. The music is repetitive which is not a negative thing in the case of Enslaved, and it helps emphasize the cold and brutal nature of their music. The riffs conjure up a monumental feeling and the majesty of the melodies go nicely along.

For prog heads who thinks this sound exciting, but a bit too brutal for their taste, try listening to the songs RUUN and Heir to the Cosmic Seed. These songs are the most mellow prog rock like songs on the album. I have no favorites on RUUN as I think every song is great. I have to mention Grutleīs bas in Entroper though, as he plays some really exciting notes in that song. Even though I also consider ISA to be a masterpiece, some things are even better on RUUN. Especially the vocals which was my only complaint on ISA are much better and higher in the mix on RUUN.

I am really excited about this album as you might have noticed, and have listened to it for many many times before writing this review, to be sure that this is really a masterpiece. But my final evaluation is that it really is a masterpiece. There is no doubt in my mind. I hope that this review will open the eyes of other people like me who like both prog and extreme metal and havenīt heard about Enslaved before, as they really are a brilliant band.

Review by Dim
4 stars Impressive stuff. Most black metal is annoying to me, it's too nonstop, too much energy, too much lack of sensibility, too much aggression, too much Satan. Usually Viking metal is pretty annoying too, goofy instrumentation, power metal esque vocals and drumming, and so much corn I can make a profit off of it. Enslaved manages to combine raw black metal, and pagan viking metal into something uniquely progressive, and different.

The music is dynamic, well textured, and well produced, this isn't one of those super spiritual bands who don't believe in modern technology and only record using a cassette player, this band is legit, and the recording quality for Ruun is superb. The guitars add a nice contrast too each other as they play vibrato chords that harmonize with each other, or one guitar will be playing a riff while the other playing a countering one, either way, they do it well. Usually I need a pretty slow song in order to keep attention, but none of these song are slow the whole way through, all of them are pretty fast brutal, and heavy. The main vocals are my main grudge, they kind of sound like those troll things on lord of the rings, kind of in the higher range of screaming, but not like Agallochs, it actually sounds like the bad guy from some cartoon, so it's pretty corny. The clean vocals are awesome though, and the death vocals are incredibly deep and horrifying, completing most songs. One thing that should stick out to the everyday progger is that this group actually uses a mellotron on a couple of the songs, which also does a lot to fill in the gap of any song.

Anyways really good album, highly recommended to anyone into the whole prog metal scene, but thirst for some blackened extremeness, go with Enslaved's RUUN. BTW, best song on the album is the title song, everything about is is so dynamic, and powerful, especially the breakdown with the vocals! Just thought you should know... Four stars!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars On recent gathering of i-Rock! Music Community there were CD counter offered by one of the members. I was introduced to ENSLAVED where its album Ruun was just considered as one of the best release album in the year by Metal Hammer magazine (I do not subscribe this magazine). I finally purchased the CD. My angle to enjoy this album was from Opeth music because I like Opeth. In a way the music is some how and sometimes similar to Opeth even though not the same. To me, Opeth is much more varied in combining acoustic and heavy side of progressive metal. AS far as I understand, Enslaved was previously a black metal band which turned their music more into progressive one.

Having spun this album many times, my view about this album is:

1.) The music is typically heavy with many soft as well as hard riffs that flow from one segment to another in typical song. There are some breaks in between heavy riffs but not a break that Opeth typically offers. The music flows nicely from track to track and there are good ambient created by the music.

2.) I find it annoying with the vocal style which sounds like Cradle of Filth music. I can imagine is Mike Arkedfelt of Opeth sings with Enslaved, it would be much better in enriching the music. The thin voice line by the lead singer here with this album does not sound blended with the music. Of course I can not dream to have Opeth singer sings here, but that's just my wish.

Overall, I tend to give this album recommended only to those who love black metal music. Listeners of traditional prog, might not enjoy this album. But I leave it up to you to decide. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A great album, though not as brilliant as its predecessor.

The thing that made "Isa" such a fantastic record was the perfect mixture of black metal elements and more progressive-rock-oriented ones, with the right balance of melody and rhythm, riffs and tunes, atmosphere and brutality. "Ruun" continues in the same way though at times feels a little more erratic, and less progressive in a way. There are moments when the albums feels pretty straightoforward, and that hurts the experience just a little bit.

In general, I don't agree with comments that say that ENSLAVED disowned their black metal affiliation on this album. For me, the black metal is still evident and alive in "Ruun" (much unlike its sucessor, where said elements would all but disappear). The band honors its past by adding touches of progressive rock music like mellotrons and piano intros. It's quite ironic that many deem the band "progressive" when it adds elements of music from the 70's, yet I would agree with that. It's the mixture of traditional extreme metal with the music of the prog era which brings the band closer to being progressive-metal than it was before.

Unlike other reviewers, I do enjoy both eras of ENSLAVED a lot, though probably their best moments have come when they have played their new style of progressive-oriented metal. As a pure black/viking-metal outfit, the band had great ideas but never really shined above other similar acts. But in the realm of extreme-progressive-metal, this Norwegian group has few rivals.

The album is strongly recommended, though slightly less so than "Isa", in my view, still their best work to date.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ruun marks the end of Enslaved's progression. In fact they had reached that endpoint already with Below the Lights, but the mighty Isa consolidated their black metal styled prog. Ruun is still a good album but it does not continue to surprise me, nor does it manage to be entirely consistent. The artwork is really cool though.

A first step down are the clean vocals. Judging from the live DVD's, keyboard player Herbrand Larsen handles most of them now. And while Grutle Kjellson was never amazing at clean vocals either, he still had some poise and conviction when delivering them. Larsen however is flat and tuneless, mostly singing all his lines on one and the same dreary tone with next to no inflection. He also sounds very insecure and unsteady, even out of tune sometimes as on Entroper. But the list of examples is endless.

A second weakness is the predictability of the music. Enslaved stick to their guns and avoid all those marvellous trips and experiments that flourished on Monumension and Below the Lights. Here and there some new influences can be heard though: next to the plethora of Voivod riffs and Floyd psychedelics, also a Tool influence is notable now, as on the title track Ruun. Unfortunately that is one of the tracks that is dead born due to the inadequate vocals. In fact there's only one moment that grips me on this album and that is where Grutle Kjelson manages most of the vocals. The gorgeous Heir To The Cosmic Seed is a 5 star ending for sure.

As the music is generally very good again, I could try to ignore the feeble clean vocals and still consider 4 stars. But that will be for a day when I'm in a less grouchy mood!

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Ruun' - Enslaved (73/100)

Like Monumension, Ruun feels like a superior take on the album that came before it, that nonetheless suffers from its context. In the case of the former, Mardraum ? Beyond the Within in 2000 set Enslaved on their path towards becoming a full-fledged progressive metal act. While they mastered that style on Below the Lights, it wasn't until Isa where the "modern" Enslaved was born. Here was a band that had fought tooth and nail to complete their transition, and had finally done so with total confidence and polished execution. Be that as it may, I honestly found Isa way too restrained for its own good. The sharp songwriting and clever style-blending was there, but it wasn't until Ruun where I started hearing them injecting some much-needed energy back into their music.

Here's another case where Enslaved appear to have created a "sequel" album. The greater dynamic range and greater moments of intensity on Ruun make it a bigger hit for me than Isa, which always held me somewhat at bay on the grounds of its relative sleepiness. Even the artwork corroborates the impression that Ruun was intended to ride the coattails of their breakthrough album. Isa's impeccable sense of flow and structure remains untouched, but in most other respects, Ruun is a more unpredictable, interesting, and ultimately enjoyable album to listen to. My personal preference between the two is clear, which is why I'm still surprised that Isa still manages to leave a more memorable impression. Whatever it was, Enslaved were trailblazing on Isa. Here, they're simply consolidating what they did before.

Even if Ruun was a safer step for Enslaved to take, the album holds up just as well as Isa a decade on. The greater energy is apparent from the very start; the opener "Entroper" fast rose to become one of my favourite Enslaved tunes ever between its upbeat pace and organic arrangement. The title track "Ruun" always struck me as a bit of an oddball, but the exotic build was memorable from the first time I heard it. The rhythmic explorations of "Api-Vat" and relatively mellowed sound on "Essence" are other lesser-lauded gems of their discography. The single "Path to Vanir" would have you think Enslaved were content to stick to the mid-paced slump from Isa, but they spread their wings with this album. Nothing else on Ruun moves me quite like "Entroper", but each of the tracks here has been given meticulous attention. Part of Enslaved's greatness lies in the fact that they can back up hard-hitting riffs with warm vintage textures. If Isa's production was perfect yet cold, Ruun graciously let some of the organic texture seep back into the execution.

At this point in their career, I don't think I could have expected less than quality material from Enslaved. I think it's absolutely to their credit that they made their breakthrough almost 15 years into being a band. Ruun was probably the first album of theirs that enjoyed Enslaved's confidence of having already "made it." Ruun is just Enslaved doing what they want to do, without so much of the stress of trying to expand their fanbase. Although they did technically improve their craft here, I guess part of the reason it doesn't stand out to me as much some of their other albums is precisely the feeling they got a bit too comfortable here. While I'm sure many fans were all too eager to hear an Isa part two, Enslaved have always been best when they're pushing themselves. That wasn't really the case here, but they're otherwise hard to fault when their material is this consistent. on.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Enslaved's Ruun sees the band leaning even further towards the prog-metal side of their sound than they did on Isa, with some post-rock influences also creeping in here and there. In fact, I'd say that the band are in danger of losing their distinctive identity on this album, though they retain sufficient black metal elements to save themselves from this. I think what makes the album work (despite it coming close to not working) is that, as always, Enslaved show a great command of atmosphere, and in general are able to evoke the cold wintry airs they want to go for on here, though even then a few compositions drag on just a little.

Latest members reviews

3 stars "Ruun" marks certain streamlining of Enslaved songwriting skills. Compositions are easy to consume, relatively catchy, far from being epic like on the previous releases, more conventional and less experimental. That does not mean that instrument playing isn't creative, you will spot plenty of ici ... (read more)

Report this review (#2439112) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, August 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Progressive black metal? hmm who'd have ever thought it? Well me, but thats not the point, this is the ninth album from this band from Norway, and what can i say that wasnt already said? Full of dark atmospherics and Pink Floyd like textures, and of course i love the addition of the heavy riffs ... (read more)

Report this review (#285151) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am the creator of true will The words uttered by frontman Grutle Kjellson as the first track Entroper kicks in and where after the listerner is sucked in by and entertained with music of the highest quility. Perfect compositions with lyrics that compliment each note it's sang over. Heavy, pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#173776) | Posted by Bathory | Friday, June 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars On Ruun, so far the latest record of Enslaved, the band continues to develop as a progressive metal act, although I wouldn't call their sound particulary progressive yet: as on Isa there is still too much of the monotony and simplicity of black metal. However, such tracks as Ruun and Heir to the C ... (read more)

Report this review (#136324) | Posted by dkls | Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Black metal meets epic 70's rock progressiveness....... Enslaved should be a big name, like Opeth. Enslaved is melodic and isn't easily labeled as metal, In fact, take away the vocals, and one hears prog, shoegazer, and psychedelic rock. And with Ruun, the band has completed a three-album str ... (read more)

Report this review (#121923) | Posted by Kid.A | Sunday, May 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am surprised not to find more reviews of this band in this web site. As far as I know, Enslaved's music is as good, as powerfull as Opeth. And maybe better in my opinion.... I am a normal prog guy, whose main source for retaliation is the good old 70's prog. I love experimentation a la Soft ... (read more)

Report this review (#84910) | Posted by | Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For anyone pining for the days of lyrics sung in Nordic tongues and frosty songs about viking, look elsewhere. Though the early days of Enslaved brought us some of the best viking metal of the 90's, it's more than refreshing to see the band progressing naturally towards a more complex, rewarding ... (read more)

Report this review (#84709) | Posted by gunmetalsky | Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I confess that I was one among those who, at the time of the release of "Mardraum: The Beyond Within", started to leave the Norwegian band because of their choice to put aside the icy and Viking sounds, that brought many successes to their musical history, for more psychedelic and rockish ones ... (read more)

Report this review (#80128) | Posted by abyssic_hate | Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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