Thursday, 16 April 2015

Enslaved "In Times" (2015)

Norwegian Black Metalers "Enslaved" have been around since the formation days of the rebellious anti-christian music scene. Forming in 91, they dropped their debut "Frost" a few years later in 94, at the peak of controversy and attention the scene would receive given the murders and church arson events the media focused on. Despite being their from the beginning Enslaved never rouse to the peak status of their counterparts, but have remained active through the years. Their debut "Frost" often hailed as a classic, a cold icy record that to my ears doesn't quite have a lasting presence like "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" has over me. Given that the band evolved over time, experimenting with melodic elements, warmer guitar tones and varied approaches to riffs I was fairly excited for this record which has not disappointed.

In Times is a modern approach, out with the cold frosty distortions and in with warm, soft tonal guitars that play to both the heavier, darker side lead by aggressive drums and snarly screams and the lush melodic sound lead by soft, humbling clean vocals and elevated symphonic sounds that often reside in the backdrop, melding with the guitars for a rounded, appeasing tone. One thing thats very distinct of the songs of this record is how they transition between the two, at times like a light switch, at others with interludes and progressions, but for the most part the songs revolve around the two vocal forms taking charge and leading the songs through bright and dark passages.

The variation across the six tracks creates an engaging atmosphere of wonder, always anticipating the next "moment" as each song unleashes epics of soaring riffage, symphonic bliss and tuneful leads, "Nauthir Bleeding" offering a diverse progression from acoustic guitars and humbling, softly sung melodies that lead into the album darkest, soaring moment before blazing into wild, free flowing guitar solos more reminiscent of Thrash and Heavy Metal than Black. The record sounds gorgeous, lush modern production with the drums a little quieter than usual, giving them a muted roll in the songs. The strings and symphonics mixed to perfection, being able to meld with the guitar and break away to direct the music at times, the bass is also warm, upbeat and present in the forefront as it compliments the guitar with plodding rhythms and a base octave a step up from the lows so commonly explored. "In Times" flows like a river, from one to the next and without filler its fifty minutes of modern Progressive Black that doesn't falter.

Favorite Songs: Building With Fire, Nauthir Bleeding
Rating: 6/10