|Review: Enslaved - Below The Lights|
|Below The Lights|
Label: The End Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Viking Metal
Review online: February 15, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Below The Lights
Rated 4/5 (80%) (35 Votes)
This is the seventh release for one of the Norwegian scene's longest-lived Black Metal bands. Now Enslaved are not really a pure BM band anymore, but their roots are as plain as ever, and so I would not have a problem describing them as such. But there is something very different going on here from the usual Black Metal stylings, and Enslaved have produced an interesting, if flawed album.
Far from the speedy blur of noise they produced in their early days, here Enslaved have mellowed and become more melodic and experimental than ever before. They aren't turning into Opeth or anything, but this is definitely far from the usual BM comfort zone. Strangely enough, this album has a lot in common with later Fates Warning material, especially on the spawling "The Crossing" and "Queen Of Night" – both of these feature lurching, arhythmical riffing and extended passages with no vocals at all. The guitar sound is very dry and spare – similar to the sound on Mayhem's old stuff, but with a clear tone that really sounds like prog-metal. The vocals vary between the expected shrieks and mellower melodic mutterings, even some folksy singing here and there.
Overall this album is a little unfocused, and the songs go on a little too long, but it has a feel and atmosphere that remains compelling. When these guys can keep it together – as on the excellent first two songs – this is sweeping, melodic Black Metal that carries irresistible force behind it. On the latter half of the disc "Below The Lights" loses punch and becomes dull in places, but it is an interesting kind of dull nevertheless. I can tell Enslaved were after something new here. I don't think they got it quite right, but I will be curious to see the next release from this band.
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