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Enslaved Riitiir album cover
3.90 | 237 ratings | 8 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 (9:30)
2. Death in the Eyes of Dawn (8:17)
3. Veilburner (6:46)
4. Roots of the Mountain (9:16)
5. Riitiir (5:26)
6. Materal (7:48)
7. Storm of Memories (8:58)
8. Forsaken (11:15)

Total Time 67:16

Line-up / Musicians

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

- Iver Sandøy / bass pedals, percussion, Fx, co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: Truls Espedal

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 2932-2 (2012, Europe)

2LP Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 2932-1 (2012, Europe)

Thanks to pepato for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ENSLAVED Riitiir ratings distribution

(237 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

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.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 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 !

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'RIITIIR' - Enslaved (79/100)

Whether it's been as major leaps or cautious developments, each and every album in Enslaved's discography has felt like a natural development on what came before it. I haven't been as big into their sound as I once was, but I consider their massive reputation well-earned. Much of their career has been defined by their steady, if sometimes tumultuous, ascent towards a progressive rock haven. The overt transformation began in 2000 on Mardraum - Beyond the Within, and was arguably completed a near-decade later with Vertebrae. It was finally at that point where Enslaved had internalized the proggy mindset they'd seen fit to emulate for most of their career together.

Everything following (and including) Vertebrae constitutes Enslaved as a fully-grown prog metal entity. A lot of the testiest legwork was done on Vertebrae. Since then, it doesn't seem like it's ever been so easy for these guys to churn out one excellent record after another. I haven't been discrete about my love for Axioma Ethica Odini; it was one of the safest bets in their discography, but it hit all the right marks. I think Enslaved must have liked what they had done on that album, because RIITIIR does a lot to recreate the experience of Axioma Ethica Odini. It's a meatier sounding record by all accounts, but this album signified that Enslaved had finally found a sound they were comfortable with sticking in.

I suppose with listening to a band like Enslaved, the excitement of hearing a band development was an inherent part of the experience. Despite now being proggier than ever before, the sense of musical adventure was lot around the time of Axioma Ethica Odini. With that said, they've been releasing some of the sharpest material of their career since then. When RIITIIR came out, I was hit with a lot of the same awe I felt when I first heard Axioma, or even Vertebrae for that matter. Enslaved operate as a fairly well-oiled machine at this point, and while I think I'll always miss that feeling of exploring fresh territories with them, there's a different sort of joy in hearing them playing exactly the kind of music they were meant to make.

If anything distinguishes RIITIIR from its predecessor, it's that the production and performance got even livelier. Their restrained sterility held me back from really loving the Isa-era material, and it was finally on Axioma that they reintroduced fire back into their sound. RIITIIR isn't a major step forward in any direction, but you can tell they were becoming ever-increasingly comfortable with the idea of letting loose within a prog context. The musicianhip is still a precise as ever, but there's something about RIITIIR's sound that sounds very earthy and full. The slow, starting riffs to "Thoughts Like Hammers" sound meatier than anything on the comparatively airy Axioma. Certain parts of the album exploit Enslaved's technical skills for emotional gain. Listen to the soaring climax on "Roots of the Mountain"; it's as cleanly produced and performed as anything they've done, but the passion is virtually spewing out of the recording. Even Herbrand's thin clean vocals sound passionate and full. That's not something I think I'd ever have expected to hear from Enslaved. One of my favourite things about RIITIIR is how it managed to prove me wrong in that respect.

"Roots of the Mountain" and "Death in the Eyes of Dawn" are two of the most perfect songs Enslaved have ever recorded; I'd go as far as to say they're better than anything on Axioma. These guys weren't fussing about when it came to the songwriting and arrangement on this album. That said, compared to its predecessor, RIITIIR offers higher highs, and much lower lows. I was very quick to cry "masterpiece" when the album came out. That glow didn't last long. RIITIIR is a great album for your money's worth, but every time I hear it I get the nagging feeling that it's one of the most frontloaded albums to come out in recent years. From the title track onward, RIITIIR falls into a lot of the same slumps that characterized the weakest material on Vertebrae. It keeps self-absorbed, favouring drawn out progressive builds when hooks and compact riffs would have served them better. That's not a condemnation on the intent so much as the way it turned out. Certain progressive bands are better at one approach moreso than another. Despite as much as they've tried to get proggy, taking that goal too far risks alienating some of their best traits. They went a bit far on the latter end on RIITIIR, and there are hefty sections here that kind of bore me as a result.

RIITIIR may strike me in much the same way as Ruun did. It represents a tame but steady progression on the album that came before it. Now that it sounds like they're finally starting to settle down their sound, I was listening to this album wondering where they might end up going a decade from now. In Times gave the impression of moving forward without going anywhere new at all. I suppose it begs the question how you would define a great album. For their part in it, Enslaved did more innovating and risk-taking than most artists ever think of. Judging from the crisp progressive style here, it obviously paid off for them in a big way. Although it's not a gamechanger like the two albums before it, RIITIIR did nothing to slow their momentum. They're every bit as inventive as they used to be, and there's no reason to predict less than excellence from them in the future.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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 books by Dr. Musaru Emoto and Alfred Tomatis and Joseph Campbell and Ram Dass: This kind of cacophony causes chaos and entropy, destruction and death! Even if I could find anything redeeming about this 'singing,' these 'vocals,' these lyrics, the music is so simplistic, so straightforward and so derivative of 70s rockers like BLUE OYSTER CULT and 90s innovator CYNIC that I don't get the grounds for all this praise! Even the Jem Godfrey/Frost* sounding "Storm of Memories" (8:57) (8/10) has a promising beginning with fewer doom/death growling (at least for the first three minutes). Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. Machine gun drums and machine gun guitars. I just don't get it. Maybe as a caffeine or cocaine substitute this works for some people, but for what reason? Are we really that angst-ridden--that forlorn and lost--as a culture that this is the only outlet we can devise for our frustrations? I am a believer that music is an expression of highest creativity, our highest art form with which to bridge material with spiritual. This kind of music is, to my mind, a slap in the face to all the great composers, artists and creators in human history. What a shame! What a waste of talent and potential (obviously, the players can play, their minds have creative capacity. I guess I should be looking at all this entropy and chaos as the Taoist balance to all the Light and Beauty, or as Karl Jung might: Out of [&*!#] the alchemist creates gold!)

Sorry, boys. I'll take Brahms' 3rd, Satie's Gymnopedie, Renaissance's Novella, LeGrand's Pastorales de Noël, Bill Evans' Village Vangaurd recordings, Cocteau Twins' Tiny Dynamine, and any Baroque music over this, any day.

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.

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.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I was very impressed when I first heard the album and thought it must be Enslaved masterpiece. Then I listed to their discography multiple times to understand how the band developed, matured. It goes beyond saying that Enslaved got more and more progressive after 2000'. They have also slowly ab ... (read more)

Report this review (#2450592) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, September 24, 2020 | 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 3, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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