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Review: Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
Axioma Ethica Odini

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 58:28
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: September 20, 2010
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.12/5 (82.44%) (41 Votes)

I really did not like Enslaved's previous album, Vertebrae. That's not bad considering the extent of their discography – disliking one album in the bunch. I ended my review by basically saying that I wasn't giving up on them since this is the band that changes so much from one album to the next. Well, Axioma Ethica Odini is here now, and I'm glad to say that it's pretty kick ass.

Their experimentation is not over: There's still a bit of psychedelic in here, as well as just plain "rock". This album however doesn't focus on that as much as Vertebrae did – in other words, the metal has regained control of the Enslaved ship (for now anyway. ;)) In fact, if you've been missing the old Enslaved (and I mean 10+ years ago Enslaved), you'll find some welcome riffage in here, very much reminiscent of the raw, blazing riffs they had on Mardraum and the couple of albums that came before it. I haven't double checked to make sure, but I think there's at least one recycled riff in here, though it's a fucking good one so... who cares!

The vocals are a mix of Enslaved old style Black Metal rasps and clean vocals, which have taken more and more space on the band's albums in the past 10 years. You'll find a lot of clean vocals on Axioma...and that's my main beef with the album. The clean vocals are fine on the more rock/psychedelic songs (or passages), but the tendency to also use them on the actual metal songs just doesn't work. You've got the guitars blazing Black Metal accompanied by very melodic, "pretty" (at times) clean vocals and that just doesn't sound right. No matter how much I listen to the album, I still make a face when I hit those passages.

So, in retrospect: For those who prefer Enslaved's experimental turn of the past few years, fear not, it's still there. For those who prefer the all-metal Enslaved, you'll need to show some tolerance here. Even though the metal is back in full force and the actual metal songs rock like old Enslaved, it's all mixed in with "that other stuff." A worthy purchase.

More about Enslaved...
Review: Below The Lights (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Below The Lights (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: E (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Eld (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Frost (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Heimdal (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Live Retaliation (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Mardraum - Beyond The Within (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Ruun (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Utgard (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Utgard (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Vertebrae (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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