“Broken through the silk skin that separate the times…”
Norwegian Black Metal visionaries, Enslaved, unleash their thirteenth full-length release, In Times, to the world this March. With fans waiting three years since the band’s previous release (RIITIIR), it is needless to say that this is a highly anticipated release. As always, Enslaved did not conform to their genre or attempt to recycle previous successes; instead, they created an album that perfectly blends the new and old sounds of this band.
Being the follow-up to RIITIR, In Times does not only meet the expectations established by the previous release, but sets a whole new standard. Fifty minutes of unrivaled Norwegian black metal blended with Scando-Folk progressive executed with smooth technical precision, In Times will capture the listener, assault them, and take them to unexpectedly beautiful and serene places. As a whole, the album is incredibly atmospheric- each 8 minute track easily progressing and always driving forward.
Take it or leave it – Thurisaz Dreaming kicks off the album with an unapologetic and brutal display of black metal which either drags the listener in or wards off the weak. Between the black metal assaults there are progressive reprieves of clean, enchanting vocals and melodies that give the listener a preview of what the rest of the album has in store. Building with Fire – albeit less brutal than the previous track- still possesses power and entrancing melodies that will enrapture you.
The band’s progressive rock influences come out strong in the visionary track One Thousand Years of Rain; it is their self-claimed attempt at being “artsy fartsy.” The track builds a visual atmosphere not only with the lyrics, but the music as well. The guitars get to be the stars in some of the other tracks like Building with Fire, but this track is where drummer, Cato Bekkevold, is leading the way. His technique and delicacy allow the drums to mimic the feel, sound, and movement of rainfall. The guitars and vocals layer and sway- building up and breaking down to complete an almost visceral storm experience.
Enslaved has presented the metal world with another technically impressive album with seamless songwriting. Dual atmospheres are presented and balanced with constantly shifting tempos and textures allowing psychedelic inspired tracks like Nauthir Bleeding to coexist harmoniously with the more brutal and at times bombastic black metal passages.
The album is an incredibly easy listen which one may mistake for simplicity, but that ease is just the result of true inspiration and creativity; resulting in a smooth writing experience for the band. Wisely, the tracks are arranged in the order that they were written; maximizing the momentum and energy of the music to build and dissipate in a very natural and organic fashion.
In Times is a perfect storm- peaking curiosity with danger and brutality, but enrapturing the listener with moments of serenity and majesty.
5 out of 5 Rating:
Building with Fire
One Thousands Years of Rain
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Playing Time: 53:05
Ivar Bjorrnson- Effects, Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizers
Arve Isdal- Guitar (lead)
Herbrand Larsen- Keyboards, Mellotron, Vocals
Grutle Kjellson- Bass, Vocals
Cato Bekkevold- Drums, Percussion