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Enslaved - "In Times" (CD)

Enslaved - "In Times" CD cover image

"In Times" track listing:

1. Thurisaz Dreaming (8:13)
2. Building With Fire (8:49)
3. One Thousand Years Of Rain (8:13)
4. Nauthir Bleeding (8:10)
5. In Times (10:44)
6. Daylight (8:56)

Reviewed by on February 11, 2015

"While very noticeably still in the same core Enslaved sound, 'In Times' channels that familiar sound with an unfamiliar outlook this time around, offering a very different mix of contrasting elements than what was found on the last few releases."

Exhibiting a clear progression of sound, Enslaved keeps up a core idea of black-metal-meets-prog, but continues to tweak the sound even further than what was heard on “RIITIRR” or “Axioma Ethica Odini.” Still an extreme metal release, this time around the music is a bit more on the restrained side, focusing slightly more on clean singing and playing with many different atmospheres.

“In Times” opens with “Thurisaz Dreaming,” which is is a little by-the-numbers (although to be fair, “by-the-numbers” for Enslaved is usually more interesting than much of what you'd hear from more traditional black metal bands), and it sounds very strongly like anything from the last two albums. The shakeup hits with second track “Building The Fire,” as it goes through several distinct shifts in tone and style, including a bass solo halfway through.

That track actually gives a good idea of what to expect from this latest album – there's still heavy guitars and growling, but the release is just on a different wavelength than previous outings, going a more subtle and sublime route. “One Thousand Years Of Rain” then kicks off with a faster pace and offers up some of that stunning “RIITIIR” vibe of harsh/fast blended with clean/melodic. The track throws a curve ball five minutes in, slowing down and unexpectedly throwing in Viking gang chants.

Follow-up song “Nauthir Bleeding” tries to create a disorienting experience in the audience – like an auditory trip into an altered state of consciousness – by using an acoustic style that cuts in sudden and violent clips of distorted guitars, which then immediately drop back into the softer wound. It's an interesting take on mixing styles that Enslaved hasn't really done in the past. For those who may be missing the prog elements at this point, the nearly 11 minute title track is definitely a sonic journey worth taking, going through huge transitions and opening with two solid minutes of Opeth-style melodic metal.

While very noticeably still in the same core Enslaved sound, “In Times” channels that familiar sound with an unfamiliar outlook this time around, offering a very different mix of contrasting elements than what was found on the last few releases.

Highs: Lots of unexpected sounds and more prog-meets-black metal goodness.

Lows: The album as a whole is less on the extreme side and feels more restrained than the last two full-lengths.

Bottom line: Enslaved continues to evolve in different directions, mixing up extreme metal with more sublime sounds.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)