Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini
Release date: 2010Sep28 (US)
Label: Indie Recordings
This fall, two black metal luminaries—Dimmu Borgir and Enslaved—will tour Europe in support of their fresh releases. Enslaved have released their new album Axioma Ethica Odini one week before Dimmu Borgir unleash their opus Abrahadabra upon their fans. It’s definitely a exciting time to be a disciple of Norwegian black metal! Axioma Ethica Odini is worth all the attention you can give it —the Norwegian band continues to expand the twilight zone between classic metal and the progressive sounds of the future with great success.
It seems that Enslaved‘s previous studio effort, Vertebrae, felt like a minor letdown for quite a few critics and fans after the massive Isa and Ruun. Some blamed the producer and some blamed the increased use of clean vocals in the band’s music. I have a strong feeling that most of those critics will be silenced when they put this album on the stereo – just listen to the massive groove of the first track “Ethica Odini”; the blackened power of their legacy fuses perfectly with the more accessible output from their previous record. My biggest complaint on Vertebrae—the interplay of the demonic vocals of Grutle Kjellson and the clean vocals of Herbrand Larsen—are now a joy to behold. Sometimes it sounds like one voice; fading in and out of purgatory. This album also feels less “produced” than its predecessor; even though I like a lot of Joe Baresis work (Tool, QOTSA), I feel that Vertebrae lost some of the needed darkness that this kind of music feeds on. Now though, that darkness have returned in force, but it feels more alive. Enslaved have invoked the same dance of light and dark of their Swedish neighbors, Opeth.
I have fallen in love with this album. In the time of digital formats, streaming and downloaded hit singles, I feel ever more connected with the concept of the album. The flow of interconnected songs, concepts and beautiful mythology is our treasure chest in this environment of self-proclaimed profit prophets and video stars. Almost twenty years after Nirvana‘s attack on the anemic record industry, it seems that music is again in need of a shift in the underground and I wouldn’t be surprised if metal music will be the new saviours of rock music.
But what of the music? Well, I think that even with a gun to my head, I’d be hard-pressed to find any definite faults with this album. Of course, my feelings are filtered through hype, fanboy excitement and the integrity of Enslaved‘s previous releases. But, I honestly feel that Axioma Ethica Odini will satisfy every disciple of black metal, young and old. “Ethica Odini” is a nod to the history of black metal, “The Beacon” melds nineties insistent riffs with clean harmonies and “Night-Sight” is a rollercoaster of progressive rock and incendiary black metal.
Enslaved keeps on exploring their boundaries and are eclipsing the black metal subgenre with Axioma Ethica Odini. This time they’ve reached a pinnacle of heavy music; the Norwegian band has released one of the strongest contenders for 2010 Album of the Year!
01. Ethica Odini
04. The Beacon