Progressive Black Metal
FFO: Borknagar, Ihsahn, Emperor, Ne Obliviscaris
Enslaved have had a solid and productive career taking elements of black, extreme and progressive metal and coupling it with Norse mythology. This year has the Norwegians returning with their fifteenth studio album ‘Utgard’.
Followers of Enslaved will not be surprised to discover that ‘Utgard’ continues to push the boundaries already lain down on the likes of ‘RIITIIR’ and ‘E’. Of course, there are flashes of Enslaved’s past here as vocalist Grutle Kjellson shows he can still growl with the best of them; but, this is an adult Enslaved now and the band continue to show with ‘Utgard’ that they are fantastic musicians working at the peak of their game with clean vocals trading off against growls to make something exceptionally good. Furthermore, this sound experimentation has led to some of the best Enslaved work in recent years; tracks such as ‘Sequence’ throws a real late 60’s Pink Floyd psychedelic mix into the vibe as the band channel an inner Syd Barrett moment whilst ‘Urjotun’’s simple, yet effective electronic beat hypnotically draws the listener towards early 80’s Goth touching upon The Damned and Bauhaus. This means that ‘Utgard’ has the ability to appeal to a wide demographic, there is something here for many listeners, but it is the progressive metal elements that really push this album into the upper echelons with the band delivering something new to digest with each listen.
With ‘Utgard’, Enslaved have once again delivered a fantastic album, the musicianship shines through amongst an excellent production and there is no doubt that ‘Utgard’ will be sitting proud at the end of the year.