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Review: Enslaved - Utgard

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2020
Duration: 44:43
Tracks: 9
Genre: Viking Metal


Review online: October 27, 2020
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Rated 3.81/5 (76.25%) (16 Votes)

Time has not been too kind to the bands of the Norwegian second wave of Black Metal. Most of them either no longer exist, or are no longer really making metal music. Enslaved have traveled a long way from their blasty origins on albums like Frost and Eld, but their fifteenth album finds them still managing to make interesting, compelling music despite that they are not the same band they used to be.

No one who has heard an Enslaved album in the last 20 years is going to be surprised by the direction of this one. Utgard is very much in the vein of the progressive sound they have been pursuing, and it draws in a lot of varied influences to create a whole that should sound like a directionless mess, but doesn't by virtue of strong songwriting that keeps the through-line of the songs from getting lost in the proggy time changes and sometimes intricate arrangements. If you want this to be another Vikinglir Veldi then you will be disappointed, because this is not that. This is moody, varied stuff that switches between progressive arrangements and heavier riffs, raspy vocals and well-done clean singing that actually mesh well together. Enslaved have been hit or miss with me over the past few decades, because too often I felt like they wandered too far into trippy Pink Floyd-isms, but this one is just better-written than their past few discs, and finally feels like they hit what they were aiming for.

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Review: Eld (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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