AlbumsNovember 29, 201110,003 views

Enslaved Isa

01. Intro: "Green Reflection" 02. Lunar Force 03. Isa MP3 04. Ascension 05. Bounded by Allegiance 06. Violet Dawning 07. Return to Yggdrasill 08. Secrets of the Flesh 09. Neogenesis 10. Outro: "Communion" (excerpt)
2005 Candlelight Records
Our score 9


There have been many memorable moments in metal, and hopefully we will see many more in our time. Unfortunately, many of the moments for which the black metal scene is known involve infantile crimes and backstabbing within the scene.The mention of black metal brings to mind many charade-like images that have nothing to do with the music itself. Rarely thought of at the mention of black metal are the bands that continue to progress from that scene. Sadly, the thought of black metal doesn't readily bring to mind the most important thing of all: the music. Having their roots in the original black metal scene of Norway, Enslaved have experienced the political turmoil of a troubled scene and have not only survived as a band, but have managed to continually evolve their sound, from primitive Viking styled black metal, to the musically complex beast it is today. They did this not by ditching the corpse paint and moving to basic punk rock. They did this not by becoming latex wearing, vampire fang donning symphony buffs. They did this through actual quality progress. Think of how Emperor grew from IX Equilibrium to the devastatingly composed Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise, or how Isis changed from Celestial to Oceanic.This is what Enslaved has accomplished with their newest offering Isa. Translated as "Ice", Isa picks up where Below The Lights left off. Below The Lights still represented the feral side of black metal, with a slightly raw production and blistering blast beats, while adding atmospheric melody that was almost calming. Isa is like Below the Lights' older, more mature brother. The new record is better produced and more varied in terms of song structure and style. Gone are the blast beats, replaced with more rock-like tempos and double bass work. In the heavier moments, the guitar work is characteristic of Enslaved, yet the lighter moments have taken on a very progressive rock feel, adding even more unique melodies than were present on Below the Lights. Also adding to the melodic atmosphere are judiciously used keyboards, piano or uncommon organ sounds instead of synthesized strings. Everything is played with emphasis, yet nothing seems rushed. Often creating various emotional textures in the music, there is almost an element of groove to the entire album. The vocals are still harshly screamed for the most part, characteristic of previous Enslaved releases. There is also a much more prevalent presence of singing on this newest offering. Don't be alarmed, this singing does not reduce the intensity of the recording, and is done very tastefully. Any fan of Enslaved should know what to expect in terms of the lyrics presented. The lyrical content deals heavily in Viking culture and pagan religion, as opposed to a diatribe of satanic spewing. Bottom Line: Overall this record is one of the best of the year and has the ability to appeal to fans of all kinds of extreme metal. Despite its progressive moments and lack of "true" black metal style, it will still satisfy black metal fans; Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone) and Abbath (Immortal) both appear on the album.It will also bend the ear of more typical metal fans and possibly the non-cynical hardcore kid who appreciates different kinds of bands. Enslaved are quickly on their way to becoming one of the torchbearers for all forms of metal, alongside contemporaries such as Opeth. Enslaved have matured into something great.


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anonymous 2/8/2005 4:23:57 PM

boom...numba 1

Jason_ 2/8/2005 4:29:24 PM

nice link to the mp3

xRYBREADx_ 2/8/2005 5:11:35 PM

phenomenal album. this band never lets you down.

Mudhoney_ 2/8/2005 5:54:57 PM

not a fan of the mp3, but I'll give them more chances

nig_ 2/8/2005 6:20:44 PM

finally a review by a legitmate band, and i don't even like enslaved that much

vegard_ 2/8/2005 6:27:30 PM

best of 2004.

Ash_ 2/8/2005 8:12:07 PM

True. This album technically wasn't released in the states until 2005 but has been out for a while in Europe.

vegans_taste_good_ 2/8/2005 9:12:24 PM

i love this cd

bryan_ 2/8/2005 11:40:29 PM

Absolutely horrendous band. Whats up with this and the chariot review, both of which are awful albums that recieved good scores. And yet, red sparowes is an 8/10 (should have been 10).

wes_ 2/9/2005 12:10:27 AM

sounds good

TheWood_ 2/9/2005 12:22:16 AM

I don't know about the clean vocals...but other than that, I'm intrigued.

Adam Hellbound_ 2/9/2005 12:40:31 AM

Hey guys. I just wanted to drop in and make a quick note: one cannot have an "opinion" about this album. One can think either that it is the best album black metal has ever produced and will stand in history as its first true example of "great music," or one is incorrect and not worth listening to.

SeveredInTwo_ 2/9/2005 1:34:58 AM

Finially some good f*cking black metal

savemefromtheoutsideworld_ 2/9/2005 9:23:47 AM

too mp3 sounds like poison the well trying to play black metal, no listen again ever.

hxchris_ 2/12/2005 12:47:07 PM

how can you like this crap.

Ash_ 2/12/2005 1:18:23 PM

Because I'm better than you.

scott_m_ 2/12/2005 1:33:17 PM

too mp3 sounds like poison the well trying to play black metal, no listen again ever. posted by savemefromtheoutsideworld hahahahaha... i don't agree but it was funny anyways

Dutch_ 2/15/2005 1:03:47 PM

definitely not the best black metal album ever produced, christ it's not even the best Enslaved album! i dunno, i guess my pores aren't clogged with enough corpse paint to get it. the best black metal album ever produced is probably something by Dissection or Darkthrone or Mayhem.

vegard_ 2/21/2005 11:26:31 AM

then again, enslaved aren't black metal.

youguysareidiots_ 3/17/2006 9:24:16 AM

you guys are f*cking dumbasses. everybody has there own opinion so shut the hell up. that one guy talking about red sparowes, should get a ten and these guys should a zero. serioulsy dude your an idiot. plus, enslaved is viking metal not black metal.