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Vikingligr Veldi , 7/10
Frost , 6/10
Eld , 6.5/10
Blodhemn , 5/10
Mardraum , 6/10
Monumension , 5/10
Isa (2004), 5/10
Ruun (2006), 6/10
Vertabrae (2008), 6/10

Enslaved (Ivar Bjornson, Grutle Kjellson, Dirge Rep, Richard Kronheim) was one of Norway's black-metal bands (like Bathory, Mayhem, Immortal, Emperor, Mortiis, Enslaved) that employed medieval and epic arias inspired to the Scandinavian folk tradition. They debuted with Vikingligr Veldi (Osmose, 1994), five lengthy majestic pieces of dark, piercing, intense agony enhanced with synthesizers and piano. In Lifandi Lif Undir Hamri it is the guitars that keep the epileptic beat of death-metal, while the drums keep a more graceful rhythm. The guitar frenzy eventually evolves towards a slower and more modulated noise. Despite the ups and downs, that catastrophic bombardment of micro-riffs remains the counterpoint to the growling vocals. Vetrarnott/ A Winter's Night adds a punk-like ferocity to the relentless guitar storm. At times one feels that the Dead Kennedys or the Germs are being skinned alive for eleven long minutes. Eventually the guitar begins a melodic dialogue with the synthesizer that leads to an epic crescendo. (The vocals are negligible). After a mesmerizing four-minute introduction, Midgards Eldar/ Fires of Midgards abruptly erupts into a bacchanal of evil riffs, miasmatic vocals and demonic synth whistles. The singer mostly screams out of his head. The lyrics are clearly not the focus of the song. The instrumental Norvegr is by far the less extreme piece, building an emotional climax out of lulling repetitions and solemn beats.

Frost (Osmose, 1995) continued in that ancient/obscure vein, but the six lengthy pieces on Eld (Osmose, 1997) introduced elements of progressive-rock. For example, the sixteen-minute centerpiece, 793, is in three sections: a four-minute orchestral overture, five minutes of droning guitar mayhem and magniloquent gothic vocals, and, after a convoluted series of tempo shifts, a hymn-like finale derailed by uncontrolled energy. The eight minutes of For Lenge Siden run the gamut from spoken vocals to absolute noise via epileptic accelerations and cataleptic decelerations. Somehow, Enslaved felt that they had to prove their death-metal credentials with the canonic one-two punch of Hordalendingen and Alfablot, and pay tribute to Black Sabbath-ian heaviness in Kvasirs Blod. The seismic and melodramatic Glemdt is a better assimilation of death-metal stereotypes into their newly found imbalance of sound. Eld indulges in an unlikely fusion of the two extremes that the album explored: vicious death-metal frenzy and stately gothic arias.

Blodhemn (Osmose, 1998) marks a retreat of sorts, with the songs limited to five/six minutes and more atmospheric melodies (Urtical Gods).

Mardraum (Osmose, 2000) marked a partial return to form with grand pieces like the gothic requiem Inngang-Flukt/ Entrance-Escape and the ten-minute power-ballad Storre enn Tid Tyngre enn Natt. The relentless Det Endelege Riket/ The Ending Empire and the demonic chaos of Mardraum/ Nightmare evoke the fury of their early stages, although only the brief and derivative Daudningekvida/ Deadhymn and Ormgard/ The Hive manage to match it. However, the band seemed incapable of unfolding the lengthy epics of the past.

Elements of progressive-metal a` la Rush and early Genesis creep into Monumension (Osmose, 2001) and reduce the impact of the ferocious vikings.

Guitarist Arve Isdal replaced Roy Kronheim for Below The Lights (Osmose, 2003), but the sound didn't change. Drummer Dirge Rep left the band after this album.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Marco Spagnuolo)

Gli Enslaved (Ivar Bjornson, Grutle Kjellson, Dirge Rep, Richard Kronheim)sono una delle Black Metal Bands norvegesi (come Bathory , Mayhem , Immortal , Mortiis) che ampliano le arie epiche/medievali ispirate alla tradizione folk scandinavo. La band debutta con Vikingligr Veldi (Osmose, 1994), 5 lunghi e maestosi brani di una scura,penetrante ed intensa agonia enfatizzata dall'uso di sintetizzatori e piano.

Frost (Osmose, 1995) continua in quel filone oscuro/antico , mentre I sei lunghi brani presenti su Eld (Osmose, 1997)introducono elementi del pro rock ((793, Kvasirs Blod, Hordalendingen, Glemdt).

Blodhemn (Osmose, 1998)segna una sorta di ritrattazione con canzoni pió brevi( cinque - sei minuti) e molto pió atmosferiche (Urtical Gods).

Mardraum (Osmose, 2000) con questo album si ritorna alle "origini" con brani maestosi come Ending Empire and Entrance - Escape.

Sfortunatamente, gli elementi progressive presi in prestito dai Rush e dai primi Genesis crollano nell'album Monumension (Osmose, 2001) e riducono l'impatto della loro ferocia "vichinga".

Il chitarrista Arve Isdal prende il posto di Roy Kronheim per l'album Below The Lights (Osmose, 2003),ma il suono non cambia .Il batterista Dirge Rep lascia la band dopo questo album.

Enslaved returned with their most varied album yet, Isa (Black On Black, 2004), followed by the vastly superior Ruun (Candlelight, 2006), a demonstration of classy, smooth, progressive black metal that at times sounds like vintage Pink Floyd.

Enslaved's guitarist Roy Kronheim formed Obscure that debuted with On Formeldehyde (Karisma, 2009).

The melodramatic psych-pop of Vertabrae (Nuclear Blast, 2008) and Axioma Ethica Odini (Nuclear Blast, 2010) marked yet another stage in the evolution of Enslaved.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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