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Enslaved Axioma Ethica Odini album cover
4.03 | 221 ratings | 11 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ethica Odini (7:59)
2. Raidho (6:01)
3. Waruun (6:42)
4. The Beacon (5:38)
5. Axioma (2:20)
6. Giants (6:37)
7. Singular (7:43)
8. Night Sight (7:36)
9. Lightening (7:51)

Total Time 58:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Grutle Kjellson / vocals, bass, synth
- Ivar Bjørnson / guitar, Fx
- Arve Isdal / lead guitar
- Herbrand Larsen / keyboards, organ, vocals
- Cato Bekkevold / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Truls Espedal

CD Indie Recordings ‎- INDIE052CD (2010, Norway)

2LP Indie Recordings ‎- INDIE052LP (2010, Norway)

Thanks to Conor Fynes for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ENSLAVED Axioma Ethica Odini ratings distribution

(221 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

ENSLAVED Axioma Ethica Odini reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After hearing so much metal over the course of the years I had come to a point that nothing could hit me as much as the classics of yore. But every year there is that odd album that proves that metal can still be the most engaging and crunching music of recent decades. Last year that album was Leprous' s Tall Poppy Syndrome. This year it is Enslaved that takes the honors.

It's been since their previous masterpiece Isa that there was so much bite and aggression on an Enslaved album. The albums released since were all critically acclaimed but missed the typical Enslaved sharp edge. Not here, the pace is insistently high and vigorous and the vocals are full of aggression. More then once Enslaved remind me of Alchemist here, a fast paced Australian progressive metal band with thunderous tempos and dissonant Voivod riffs.

But there's more. As usual Enslaved varies grunts against clean singing, and this time around they both are marvelous. Grutle Kjellson sounds as furious of old, shrieking and snarling his way through the material. So be warned, if you already can't handle the warm and harmless grunts of Opeth, you shouldn't even be reading this review. The biggest improvement comes from Herbrand Larsen's clean vocals, which were the weak link for me on Ruun and Vertebrae. Here they are stunning, beautifully harmonious, melancholic and delivered with warmth and steadiness.

So, we get more aggression, better dynamics, infectious tempos, more and better clean vocals, and a further increased progressive metal style with intricate riffing, spacey lead guitars and original keyboard work that carefully avoids the cliché pre-programmed keyboard sounds that everyone else is using. In songs as Lightening they sound very symphonic, almost to the point that Enslaved teaches Dimmu Borgir a lesson at black metal arts.

Enslaved is a leading example of how you can stay true to your musical vision and at the same time remain fresh and inspiring in the genre. Axioma Ethica Odini is a perfect release from a band that has yet to release a weak album. Guaranteed 2010 top 5 material for me.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Time when I was hot fan of metal music is gone decades ago. But I am still listen some more interesting albums, especially if recommended by respectful this field specialists. This Enslaved's album is one between few extreme metal albums released this year I listened, and with this album I wasn't disappointed.

You can hear Scandinavian metal school from the very first this album's sounds - being fast and technical, all compositions are quite melodic. Sound isn't sharp at all, more liquid I can say. To be honest, nothing here on this album is unusual or new, but guys really play great metal music! Vocals are screaming or growling almost all the time, but again - all they are mixed with music as one well balanced sound.

Most important - this album's music has that quite rare balance between heavy and polished, loud and melodic, fast and variable which attracts dedicated listener and sounds not boring during all the album. Not very often combination in modern metal prog, I think.

So - too much predictable and far not so great to be counted as masterpiece, but really one of the greatest metal album I listened this year (speaking about fresh releases).

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Axioma Ethica Odini' - Enslaved (86/100)

Axioma Ethica Odini marked the first time an Enslaved album hooked me with the first listen. Vertebrae was one of my favourite records at the time, but even that album had taken several listens before I was able to connect with it. Other Enslaved albums are reserved for specific moods and times, and other albums, like Isa, have taken me years before I've learned to appreciate them fully. With Axioma Ethica Odini, I can still remember the excitement when I heard the opening track for the first time. "Ethica Odini" had all the same progressive bells and whistles as before, but they played here with a liveliness they hadn't had maybe even since Blodhemn, if ever.

In a way, Axioma Ethica Odini was the album Enslaved was leading up to for nearly their entire career. Between Mardraum - Beyond the Within to Ruun, increasingly progressive roots took hold in their sound. It wasn't until Vertebrae where their progressive mindset finally caught up to their inspirations. Vertebrae was the first album of theirs I really loved for that reason, but even then, there was a sense of restraint that seemed to shackle them from their full emotional potential. In context, Axioma Ethica Odini was far from the biggest artistic leap Enslaved had taken in their time, but the slight developments did a world of good for their sound.

At long last, it feels here like they finally loosened up with their performance. As such, this is the closest Enslaved have come to a masterpiece since the time of Below the Lights. The progressive evolution may have kept them relevant over the years, but it came at the cost of their original speed and energy. There's still far more in common here with the cautious restraint of their mid-era over, say, Blodhemn, but the slight change was all it took to make Enslaved sound exciting again. "Ethica Odini", "Raidho" and "Giants" are almost uncharacteristically upbeat, making due on the promise of earlier songs like "Entroper" off Ruun. Even regardless of the more urgent pace, this represents some of the most consistently solid songwriting of their career. From the ominous Viking overtones of "The Beacon" to the vintage prog vibe of "Night Sight", each song feels distinctive on its own. None of the sounds here should have come as a surprise to longtime fans; the way the blend comes together this time around just happens to stand out.

Axioma Ethica Odini was actually one of the safest steps Enslaved ever took in their career. Some of the prominent issues on Vertebrae, namely its stunted flow, were corrected here, but when you consider some of the major risks they took, the added progressive embellishments here seem like nothing. That's a far cry from discounting the album however; even if past albums did a lot of the legwork for it, there are points here where I finally feel like I'm hearing a perfect incarnation of Enslaved. Be that as it may, as years have gone on it hasn't aged on me as well as Vertebrae or Below the Lights. The album's sleekness throws itself at you all at once and practically gives itself away. That feeling of instant gratification may not help in the long run, but it doesn't rob from the sense that this is some of the best Enslaved have ever sounded. They fulfilled a peak with this album, and it's not a mantle they cared to bequeath since.

Review by J-Man
4 stars Since their inception almost twenty years ago in Sveio, Norway, Enslaved has always been a force to be reckoned with in the black metal scene. With their eleventh studio album, Axioma Ethica Odini, they've once again proven to be at the top of their game. Seamlessly mixing crushing black metal and mellow seventies progressive rock, Enslaved has pulled off this formula with a feeling of consistency that few bands can emulate. This album will ruthlessly torture you with evil atmospheres and fast riffs, only to be at your side and heal you with a beautiful folk passage or clean vocal harmonies. Axioma Ethica Odini toys with your emotions, but manages to do so in an interesting and original way. Yes, this is a diverse and challenging listen that will take a few spins to wrap your head around - but it's worth every single one. If you like Enslaved, progressive metal, or black metal in general, Axioma Ethica Odini is an album that should rank high on your 2010 album list. This is a gem that every extreme metal fan should check out sooner rather than later.

The music here is a mix of black metal (on the more symphonic side), seventies progressive rock, and occasional death metal leanings in the vein of Opeth. Just in the powerful opening track ("Ethica Odini") alone, you can here this sound in its fullest form. This album is filled with sections that grab you at first listen, but it will take a few more spins to fully appreciate everything that Axioma Ethica Odini has to offer. A song like "The Beacon" (which I initially didn't like very much), now haunts me with its mystical chorus and supersonic black metal riffs. Though the music here is keyboard-laden, there are none of those cheesy keyboard tones that make you feel like you're listening to a power metal album about killing dragons and saving princesses. Expect organ, mellotron, orchestral tones, and the occasional synth like in the interlude track "Axioma". One of the biggest assets to Enslaved's music is their terrific musicianship, and that shines ever so brightly on Axioma Ethica Odini. The drumming from Cato Bekkevold has always been a highlight for me - I adore his playing style, and his chops are undeniable as well. The clean vocals from Herbrand Larsen are beautiful and melancholic, whereas the snarls from Grutle Kjellson are that of a possessed demon. Whether you like that or not is up to you, but I can conclude that the vocal department of Enslaved is jaw-dropping and their variation is noteworthy.

The production is terrific. Whereas most black metal sounds raw and harsh, Axioma Ethica Odini has a warm sound, often comparable to a seventies prog rock or heavy metal album. It seems that Enslaved has taken a hint from recent Opeth releases, notably Watershed and Ghost Reveries in terms of production. Although this extra coating of polish may turn off black metal purists, I think it fits the music perfectly - I wouldn't have it any other way.

Axioma Ethica Odini is a terrific album by Enslaved, and it proves what an unstoppable force these guys are. If this isn't "extreme prog metal album of the year 2010", it's awfully close. I have a feeling that we will be looking back on Axioma Ethica Odini as a defining progressive black metal album a few decades in the future. Although I was tempted to hand out 5 shiny ones, I'll go with a big 4.5 star rating for now. If you've been living under a rock and still haven't checked these guys out, I highly recommend jumping aboard now. Essential!

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Axioma Ethica Odini" is the 11th full-length studio album by Norwegian black metal act Enslaved. The album was released in September 2010 by Indie Recordings. The "regular" version of the album contains 9 tracks but there is a special edition available which features two bonus tracks.

The music on "Axioma Ethica Odini" is epic sounding black metal (not symphonic) with a progressive edge. While Enslaved maintain their signature sound as they always have, "Axioma Ethica Odini" is a very different album from the bandīs last album "Vertebrae (2008)". "Vertebrae" had an organic sound and a very obvious influence from seventies progressive rock. The progressive rock influence is also there on "Axioma Ethica Odini", but the album is much harsher and metal oriented than was the case with "Vertebrae". On the other hand of some of the clean sung parts and choruses on "Axioma Ethica Odini", are of the most accessible nature yet written by Enslaved. The clean vocals are of course accompanied by the raspy vocal delivery by Grutle Kjellson, which gives the vocal department nice variation.

The album is divided into two parts of 4 tracks each seperated by the short ambient instrumental "Axioma". At least thatīs how the album feels like to me and Iīm pretty sure thatīs how the band wanted the listener to perceive the album. I like this way of doing things and I appreciate that the band obviously have given the sequence of the tracks a lot of thought. Itīs important to have a good balance and flow on an album and thatīs certainly the case here.

Itīs interesting to note, that even though the music on the album is unmistakably the sound of Enslaved, the band have made little changes, adjustments and improvements to their sound, which gives "Axioma Ethica Odini" a unique position in the bandīs discography. As an example the metallic and grand production sets the album apart from the last couple of albums and as a consequence provides Enslaved with yet another instrument to play on. Sound production is an extremely important aspect of creating music and the lavish and detailed sound production on "Axioma Ethica Odini" is a good example of why that is.

The album strikes a good balance between epic black metal and progressive extreme metal with space/ psychadelic rock moments. Parts of "Night Sight" even incorporate a prog folky vibe. The music is generally melodic and atmospheric but with the raw edge that characterize most black metal releases. Tracks like "Ethica Odini" and "Lightening" are simply wonderful, but the album is very consistent and thereīs nothing here I would point to as a weak link.

It seems Enslaved just canīt fail and "Axioma Ethica Odini" is another high quality release by the band. The primary reason for the bandīs success is the clever songwriting and the unique sound they have created over the years. Enslaved challenge themselves every time and add to that excellent musicianship and a really well sounding production and you have the foundation for a really great album. Iīd say a 4.5 star rating is fully deserved.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Axioma Ethica Odini finds Enslaved in the process of incorporating a higher proportion of black metal venom into their sound, after previous releases had downplayed that side of their music in order to further develop their progressive metal tendencies. The end result is a vicious progressive black metal trip which I consider to be their best album since Monumension, and certainly laid the stage for the excellent RIITIIR which followed. In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favourite between the two, but on balance I would say that this one just barely has the edge, if only for the incredible use of clean and bestial vocals.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Enslaved is a very consistent band - not only they deliver above average albums with no flops since their 2000's Blodhemn but also keep churning out a new york at least every 3 years. With "Vertebrae" yet, the band seemed to gain their second or third breath, becoming very familiar and comforta ... (read more)

Report this review (#2439317) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, August 19, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When a black metal band like is featured on a sampler CD distributed with a progressive rock journal, then you can make a safe bet that that band is pretty special. That's what happened with Enslaved, whose track "Ethica Odini" was featured on Prognosis 11, Prognosis being a series of sampler CDs ... (read more)

Report this review (#323485) | Posted by Time Signature | Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I heard this album 2 times and i do not think back to hear him, is a good álbum for all lovers of extreme metal, but I doubt it can be digested by a lover of progressive rock from the 70's, when the vocalist uses clean vocals this very well, but when they come screaming the truth I do not like ... (read more)

Report this review (#321251) | Posted by GermanZERO | Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars WOW! I have been a slave to the Prog Archives for well over a year now, and it has completely revamped my tastes (no longer appalled by growls) and exponentially expanded my musical universe. I do still tend to the metallic edge of prog, but my eyes have been openned! And so after discoveri ... (read more)

Report this review (#312022) | Posted by scottoon | Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Whenever word comes out about a new Enslaved album, my heart immediately starts pumping as if it's going to pop out of my chest. They are just an amazing band, and every album they record seems to progress in one way or another from the last. Their last album, Vertebrae, was an epic work that p ... (read more)

Report this review (#300777) | Posted by MusicMan3172 | Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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