Formed back in 1991 and hailing from Norway, Enslaved have been at the forefront of this genre along with a few other bands. Though they started out as predominantly a Black Metal band from Norway, their progressive leanings kicked in around 1997 with their album ELD, and from this album on, you definitely hear other genres slipping into their music from using clean vocals, growls and screams, to clean guitars, unusual chord structures, melodic rhythms and synthesiser/keyboard work that Pink Floyd would have been proud of.
I particularly love the fact that some of the lyrics are Norwegian, whichs makes for more of an Auditory experience than concentrating on the intellect of the lyrical content, which, what I can understand, is very well written.
this album was released in 2004 and is their 8th full length studio album.
Here is a quick run down on what to expect from each song:
Intro: Green Reflection" - 0:51
A visceral introduction... a feeling of floating through space from a Stanley kubrick production.
"Lunar Force" - 7:03
I think this is definitely my favourite song of the album, the way that it flows and ties in together, with black leanings, half-step tremelo guitar work to the main crunching riff of the song. It is a song that is packed with emotion, the sort of song you close your eyes to and feel you are transported away from everything. Only slightly lacking in the production as the vocals are to low in parts. The time change in the middle is Enslaved perfection.
"Isa" - 3:46
The title track. this song is totally worthy of being the title track. Although a relatively slow, it has that repetitive heavyness with screeching vox combined with clean vox in the chorus. The middle eight swings and flows brilliantly with some steady double bass and finished off with the chorus of Screech and clean Vox, great song.
"Ascension" - 6:45
After a relatively uninteresting intro, the song really kicks in with heavy riffing followed by a simplistic, yet effective, groove tremelo guitaring, backed up with some good drumming with the double bass changing from eighths to sixteenth's smoothly and effectively.
"Bounded by Allegiance" - 6:38
Fantastic song. away from any traditional format of music creation, as usual, Enslaved produce this wonderful piece of music, with great tempo changes, wonderful use of keyboards to take it out to another level existence.
"Violet Dawning" - 3:49
Rocking intro with full step guitaring and some real energy reminding why you love Enslaved.
"Return to Yggdrasill" - 5:39
Straight into it, nice and heavy, steady double bass, crunching guitars and vox, which quickly change into slowed slightly distorted chords, beautiful. I love how Enslaved can take 3 or 4 basic chords and make them sound epic.
"Secrets of the Flesh" - 3:36
Instrumental time, and you know what, you don't even realise it is an instrumental as with much of enslaved's music, there are instrumentals within songs, and frankly vocals would not have improved this song, although technically there are some vocals in it, just no words, just sound. It is well done and not too long, a good interlude into the next song.
"Neogenesis" - 11:58
The longest song of the album, starts with a nice repetitive chord structure and almost folk sounding clean vocals, which flows nicely for 2 and a half minutes and then the tempo picks up with some cool, yet simplistic muted riffing and the signature scream style vocals of Enslaved. And as you would expect from a song this long, it goes on all sorts of wonderful tangents and you can definitely hear some pink floyd influences at times, have a listen and you will see what I mean, infact you the entire last 2 minutes is very floyd.
"Outro: Communion (excerpt)" - 0:56
Back to where we started, similar to the intro.
I would say this album is more of a journey then just an album which contains a certain amout of songs. The entire album ebbs and flows beautifully, heightening your emotions and lifting your spirit.
It is far from the heaviest music they have created, it is not the fastest, but it is one their most well written, catchy, trippy and easy to listen to, you don't get bored with it, even though, as with traditional black metal, there are bars and bars of repetitiveness, enslaved have a way of keeping your intrest through the use of sound and song structures.
I have listened to this album many times and hope you get to have the same pleasure I do from this album.
If you like metal, especially Scandinavian Folk metal, you will like this album, no, you will love it!
Thanks for reading and enjoy!
'Isa' is the only album Enslaved have released in their turbulent and creative career that I would consider something of a disappointment, if only in comparison to their usual high standard. Reinventing their approach to black metal with every album or two, it was perhaps inevitable that one would fall through, and while 'Isa' isn't bad by any means, it's distinctly average in its ideas and execution.
The songs don't all sound the same, but each one is led by a dominant guitar riff or melody that is repeated a little too often, while gimmicks such as a repetitive keyboard thrum effect show up far too often, perhaps in a contrived attempt to create a sense of coherence across the tracks. 'Lunar Force' is driven by a tremolo-plucking riff that's fun for a couple of minutes before it starts to lose its charm, and 'Ascension' only stands out for being a little slower than the rest. 'Return to Yggdrasil' features melodic sections seemingly for the sake of it, and the final (significant) song 'Neogenesis' feels overlong and lacking in good ideas, despite some enjoyable guitars.
1. Intro: Green Reflection
2. Lunar Force
5. Bounded By Allegiance
6. Violet Dawning
7. Return to Yggdrasil
8. Secrets of the Flesh
10. Outro: Communion
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Green Reflection (Intro)
2 Lunar Force
5 Bounded by Allegiance
6 Violet Dawning
7 Return to Yggdrasill
8 Secrets of the Flesh [Instrumental]
10 Communion (Outro) [Excerpt]
11 Isa [*][Multimedia Track]
12 20 Minute Video Interview [*][Multimedia Track]