As one fan put it to me once while waiting outside a show promoting Enslaved’s In Times, he refereed to them as “The Norse sons of transmutational black/extreme metal!” It was a broad a step away from the previous release (RIITIIR) but maintaining the strong essence and signatures of the band we know so well. So too now, do we find the majesty of E a step of change and growth above from what we learned from their previous masterpiece In Times. Quite a showing at that; what with Herbrand Larsen having gracefully retired from service after the last opus, and several other musical projects of spiritual, historical, and experimental designs occupying the various other members since. Thank goodness 2017 sees a new Enslaved, and not a moment too soon.
The album opens with the almost 11-minute epic “Storm Son”; a grand lead-off track as with ”Thurisaz Dreaming” was on their last album, but one even more swirling and mature in composition and stature. There is indeed a shift unfolding in the creation process that the band has been undertaking for the past few releases, that seems to finally be taking more of the reigns as they age. “Sacred Horse” almost seems to throw you with a very soft acoustic guitar beckoning before breaking into progressive extreme metal glory. The polyrhythms of “Feathers Of Eolh” breaking into lilting melodies then back to fierce rhythms and discordant chants. The few precious listens given to this collection of music is not nearly enough to begin to take in, but enough required to say this is art that does justice to all forms it represents.
As “Hiindsiight” closes with a dreamlike chorus and saxophone wash (check it out, it’ll make sense then), E is very much a celebration for the band after 14 albums and 26 plus years of existence. Anything released by this band at this point in their career is just an automatic listen as far as I’m concerned. They simply have the heart and spirit with them after all this time and seem to only build in strength and character; so really, how can anyone honestly ask any more of them except encores at this point? The time is nigh for a world tour to accompany this beautiful work, and improve upon the near-perfection presented within. Honestly, buy this album and kill two birds at once, by showcasing your good taste while conversely spotlighting friends’ poorer tastes.
E Track Listing:
01. Storm Son
02. The River’s Mouth
03. Sacred Horse
04. Axis Of The Worlds
05. Feathers Of Eolh
Run Time: 49:52
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Want a sample of the new album? Check out the video for “The River’s Mouth”.