Just falling short of 2017’s metal top spot is the
fourteenth album from Norway’s blackened titans Enslaved.
a progressive metal offering cut from the same cloth as Wolves in the
Throne Room and even Opeth, E is a
ride that succeeds far, far beyond the parameters of its generic borders. Its music
owes itself not only to extreme metal, but also melodic rock, ambient, folk and
even free jazz, resulting in fifty minutes of power that feel not only fluid
and unhindered, but also taut and direct.
hard-hitting “The River’s Mouth”, which possesses a straight-forward structure that
bridges gritty verses with Devin Townsend Project-inclined choruses, all else
on E is dedicated to pushing
boundaries. Only one of the six grandiose tracks drops beneath the seven-minute
mark, with the five that don’t all easily creating their own distinct auras and
terms, E is, objectively, probably
the best black metal album that I’ve heard since Behemoth unleashed The Satanist in 2014, which is saying a
great deal considering how great a showing the subgenre had this year. Its
versatility, beauty, heaviness and songwriting are second to none, resulting in an intelligent disc that balances out its sheer heaviness with well-crafted emotion and masterful song-writing.