ENSLAVED – In Times

Rating

First Impressions…

Well, I couldn’t resist, I ate up the official stream made available by Nuclear Blast right away. As a longtime fan of Norway’s ENSLAVED I had been following the news of this release closely, so it was nice to get a reward immediately; the first track, “Thurisaz Dreaming,” had been partially released as a teaser. Hearing that track to its completion set things off to a great start — its outro, like so many segments on this six track album, thoroughly delivers.

By the third track I was reminded of what might be a hotly contested pick among their catalogue, Ruun. With that album they really brought a powerful psychedelic punch into their repertoire and at this point in their persistent evolution, they are best described as “progressive extreme metal.” I’m cool with that. It’s definitely still extreme, as Grutle Kjellson’s vocals growl and rumble and evilly invoke all sorts of dormant powers. Syncopated rhythms, ethereal synths and the blasts of drumming are also hallmarks that longtime listeners will recognize, and here they are beautifully used.

I took particular note of the title track. It opens a bit quietly, unassuming, for just a few bars and then becomes this beast of multiple seamless transitions, breathtaking in its elegance. The often soaring, sometimes wailing, characteristic and familiar guitar work of Ice Dale is unleashed in peak moments. For the purpose of this writeup I only gave the album one first, full-attention listen, and given the fact that I’m sitting here just itching to press “play” again tells me it’s safe to say they nailed it.

(2015, Nuclear Blast)

Track Listing:
1) Thurisaz Dreaming
2) Building with Fire
3) One Thousand Years of Rain
4) Nauthir Bleeding
5) In Times
6) Daylight

9.0 Rating