Enslaved – RIITIIR

Enslaved
RIITIIR
Released: 28th September 2012
Progressive Black Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

Photobucket

It’s been more than a decade since Enslaved engaged in a progressive journey, but I dare saying that “RIITIIR” is the closest to that final destination. Yes, you can still call it “progressive black metal”, but the black metal part is a ghost – present, but not very solid.

This is not a conceptual album in its most common sense – the lyrics don’t tell you a story – but the songs are linked musically, as if these eight songs could be a single one-hour-and-seven-minute-long track.

And if you did the math with the numbers I’ve just given you, you’ve realised that most of the songs are even longer than before. But since their composition is very well structured, you don’t get that boredom feeling that sometimes long songs can cause.

Not even the last “Forsaken”, which exceeds the 11-minute mark. An ominous piano piece, punctuated by several lightning sounds, suddenly changes into a chain of progressive riffs under Grutle Kjellson’s grunts. Then the grunts become a spoken chant, prophecy- or curse-like, with the drums speeding up the rhythm. That also stops abruptly, being replaced by an electronic loop with some synthetizers on top of it, and eventually it fades out into a doom ambience. The piano returns in the end, this time playing a melancholic tune.

I wasn’t exactly counting, but I had the feeling that the clean vocals of keyboard player Herbrand Larsen have more airplay in this album. At least in “Thoughts Like Hammers” and “Veilburner” they have, enhancing the harmony of the songs’ melodies.

The guitar work is very methodical, whether it’s shredding away as in “Storm Of Memories” or wailing as in “Death In The Eyes Of Dawn”.

More than progressive, there’s hint of atmospheric music and a whole sense of emotion entwined with “RIITIIR”’s global sound, and it results in a beautiful, dramatic and yet pungent album.

4.5/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

 

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