Enslaved RIITIIR

The process of accretion, in the astrophysical sense, happens when a massive gravitationally body (i.e., a black hole) gradually pulls matter away from nearby objects, like stars or galaxies, adding their light and substance to its already impossibly dense heart. This process finds its parallel in RIITIIR, the 12th studio album from legendary extreme metal act Enslaved. Their career is a vast and varied one, from their early days experimenting with black metal (their debut was released on Deathlike Silence Records shortly after Euronymous's death) to pioneering Viking metal to increasingly baroque and complex iterations of progressive metal. But for all of these disparate elements, there's something essential about Enslaved that has remained unchanged. They have a vision and clarity ― like a hungry black hole, incorporating new matter into their mass has not fundamentally altered them so much as it has simply made them denser. RIITIIR is the latest manifestation of this super-heavy heart at the centre of their aesthetic. The spiralling, tentacle-like guitar structures are as muscular as there are strange, probing and exploring. The drumming creates a vastness, a sense of space that sounds capable of containing galaxies, but then a startlingly bare acoustic guitar passage, like the one at the end of "Death in the Eyes of Dawn," suddenly becomes intimate and lonely. Grutle Kjellson's trademark harsh vocals find a counterpoint in Herbrand Larson's melodic clean singing, and the two styles often duel one another, caught in each other's inexorable orbit. Vast and breathtaking, RIITIIR is simply stellar. (Nuclear Blast)