There aren’t very many bands in the world that are still ‘tinkering’ with their sound when they are twenty-five years into their career. While fans have heard Enslaved transform over the past few albums from their original traditional Norwegian black metal sound, that change has never been more obvious then it is on their latest album E which goes as far as seeing the band experiment with saxophone on one track.
E kicks of the epic ten-minute plus ‘Storm Son’ which seems like a collision between death metal and prog rock. The prog-rock side of the track sees background sounds allowing the instrumental side of the track to ease its way in. Then come the amazing growls of Grutle Kjellson which firmly reminds listeners of the older Enslaved sound.
Kjellson’s amazing growls continue on ‘The River’s Mouth’, a song that also heavily driven by some brilliant instrumentals as well. Despite the fact that the band are experimenting with their sound… they are still as tight as ever. That experimentation sees a real doom feeling creep into ‘Sacred Horse’ but then one maniacal laugh then seems to trigger the instruments into a similar style of manic playing.
‘Axis Of The Worlds’ sees a more melodic side to the vocals while ‘Feathers Of Eolh’ builds to epic heights with a really strong tribal feel as well. The album then closes with the darker ‘Hiindsiight’ which at times has some epic sounding instrumentals. It is on this track that Enslaved really get experimental, even using one of Norway’s best saxophonists during the track… strangely it matches with the sounds of the rest this great-sounding album.
This is exactly the kind of album that could see Enslaved win over a legion of new fans. The progressive new sound makes them more accessible to those that didn’t like their harder edge. E is an amazing album that lifts Enslaved to a whole new level.