Axioma Ethica Odini

With an ease-in intro and an abrupt finale, Enslaved's latest draws you in only to eventually cut off contact. But in between, Axioma Ethica Odini is an intensely compelling record, subtle even when it's bashing you over the head. While it may only be the second track, "Raidho" features an explicit travelling theme, with the record maintaining strong forward momentum throughout. The pace and textures shift, but the vibe consistently leans towards moving picture more than still life. Blackened vocals and sometimes throbbing, sometimes grating riffs make this an undeniably heavy collection of songs, but the atmosphere is heavily progressive and (unsurprisingly, given Enslaved's recent release history) there isn't more than a gesture towards pure black metal. Said gesture sounds sincere enough, and fitting, part of a skilfully orchestrated, but still harsh and chaotic soundscape. If Axioma Ethica Odini doesn't convince you upon first listen, go back and listen again ― maybe you just weren't paying enough attention. (Nuclear Blast)
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