Enslaved Isa

Since Norwegians witnessed the rise of black metal first hand in the early nineties, heavy music’s metamorphosis into a more radio friendly sound has doubtlessly been accelerated there. Enslaved have released seven albums over the past decade, being twice nominated in the Norwegian Grammy awards along the way. Traditional song structures and a penchant for slowed melodic Opeth moments are matched with blasting riffs characteristic of the mass of bands hailing from Scandinavia. Creative drumming adds originality but often ventures towards the black hole of double bass kicks. Slowed riffs with the occasional rock groove carry melodies into drawn out instrumentals. Singing becomes the primary focus as the record progresses but demon gargling remains a dominant presence. Acoustic guitars add to the folk atmosphere, an often-understated influence in black metal. Luckily, the songs vary in length, saving them from the wrath of those with a short attention span. Nothing on this record is particularly riveting, but it is a respectable contribution to Candlelight’s expanding catalogue and to metal’s version of adult contemporary. (Candlelight)