A Progressive Delight
Enslaved has been kicking ass since their formation in 1991. The Norwegian metal juggernaut continues to break boundaries and remind us exactly why they are one of the most consistent metal bands out there. On October 12th, the band released E, their 14th studio album. Releasing 14 albums in itself is an impressive feat, but their latest installment is sure to convince any metal fan that Enslaved will never stop making spectacular music.
E retains a lot of the classic Enslaved flair, but it also drives home Enslaved’s newfound affinity for ambiance. This makes E one of the more progressive works to jump out of the band’s catalog. The album manages to be nothing short of epic while maintaining the group’s trademark intensity. For a glaring examples of this, look no further than “Feathers of Eohl.”
“Feathers” is one of the most intriguing and well-rounded spots on this hour-long album. The song spans about eight minutes and shows no sign of the rough metal vocals that Enslaved fans are so accustomed to. In spite of that slight difference, it captivates the listener 100 times over. The clean vocals are beautiful and the song is drenched in sinister chorus lines to make it thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.
Though “Feathers” gives the band a lot to be proud of, there are many other standout tracks on the eight-song epic. “Storm Son” starts the album with the progressive edge that dominates the work throughout, and “Sacred Horse” gives the listener an Opeth-esque organ solo that takes Enslaved’s musicianship to a whole new level.
The Norwegian metal masters keep their love of big guitar tones and impactful drums, but they also expand to incorporate instruments like organ and even saxophone in some select moments. “Hiindsiight” successfully executes some elegantly destructive saxophone riffs that would make any prog fan jump with glee. The band is nowhere near shy of their progressive side on this album.
All in all, as a progressive metal album, E delivers. It delivers the heart pounding and cinematic metal that Enslaved is known for, while tastefully inching into some newfound territory. Enslaved’s 14th album stands alongside the rest of their work as another installment in a jaw-droppingly consistent metal career.