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Review: Enslaved - Frost

Label: Osmose Productions
Year released: 1994
Duration: 50:10
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: November 26, 2011
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
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Rated 4.35/5 (87.06%) (51 Votes)

This was my first taste of Norway's Enslaved. It also remains my favorite of theirs, and one of my very favorite black metal albums. Frost is absolute magic, showcasing Enslaved at an early peak in their career. Even when the band played a more "straight up" style of black metal it wasn't hard to tell that they were quite different from their brethren. From the odd, ornate riffage to the bizarre arrangement and incredible drum work, Frost is an almost frightening affair with a level of quality I feel is almost unparalleled.

One of the great things about Frost is that the music on offer reflects both the title and the album cover, much in the way that Blut Aus Nord's Ultima Thulee nailed it. The music leaves me cold in the absolute best way possible, with chilling riffs and atmosphere that almost ices over my speakers. Coupling this with some folk nuances throughout results in a rather unique atmosphere that I feel is exclusive to this album. The production is absolutely perfect, blending Norwegian rawness with sobering clarity. The album somehow manages to sound as though it is calling you from a distance, whilst remaining in your face.

The performances are excellent, with Trym's drum work being the best of the genre this side of Frost or Hellhammer. Ivar Bjørnson's guitar work is particularly noteworthy, with an outside-the-box approach to riff writing which adds further character to the album. Grutle Kjellson's vocals take the croak/goblin approach and are perfect for the material.

The album opens with a short new age piece which slowly begins to paint the canvas, almost serene with a glacial feel to it, soon jagged edges begin to set into the canvas and "Loke" with an ominous build exploding into a fucking insane riff. This track is pure armaggedon, with frantic drumming, demented vocals and mountain toppling riffs, ending in manic laughter. What a start. "Fenris" is a personal favorite and certainly one of the more interesting tracks one the album with incredible guitar riffs. From here onwards Enslaved take you on a ride that is best experienced yourself if you haven't already.

I could happily sit and praise each and every track on the album, it really is fucking superlative. Like I said earlier this is one of my very favorite black metal albums, if you haven't heard it already you're really missing out. Boasting phenomenal atmosphere and performance, this is nigh on essential to any metal collection, and without a doubt deserving pride in place among any black metal collection.

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