Ever since 1994, Enslaved has been pushing boundaries and following its path no matter where it has taken them. It’s fair to say that the band have spanned a number of subgenres of Metal and having never been drawn to the Satanic side of things like the majority of their Norwegian Black Metal counterparts, they have been turning that focus toward Viking-related topics and writing in Icelandic.
Using Metal as the only guide, Enslaved has troubled the heavy scale whilst also being able to explore and express their softer, more melodic side at times as they get lost in the feeling and let that guide the music. This formula has served them well, so why change it?
So, what does this 26th offering by the band bring? Much of the same difference is the short answer and is experienced pretty much straight off the bat. Following some rather heavy guitars, the softer vocal welcomes us to the album and then some melodic and quite dreamy guitars that then melt into the more heavier side of Enslaved. That rough and acidic vocal that is provided in the heavier sections really does darken the mood.
This blend and flow back and forth between heavy and not, clean and harsh continues to pull you one way and then the next, whilst there is a constant undercurrent of the opposite just waiting to drag you down by the ankles.
This album continues to make you brace yourself like being hit by the waves of the tide throughout its entire 48-minute, 7-track offering and even when you feel that you have found some still water in ‘Forest Dweller’ that unpredictability comes and kicks you back under the waterline as you get thrown around in that murky and heavy undertow.
The guitars on this album are a glorious combination of hypnotic and abusive, whilst the vocal matches that approach to create a sonic wonder like Enslaved are known for. But, I must say, for me, this is a far more engaging offering than the last few by the band and maybe their best for some considerable time.
I would encourage any fans of Enslaved, or Metal in general to listen to Heimdal, and let yourself get dragged by the feeling being created by this beautiful band. I really can’t wait to hear some of the albums at the Incineration Festival.
Heimdalwill be released Friday 3rd March 2023 via Nuclear Blast Records.
Behind The Mirror
03. Forest Dweller
The Eternal Sea
06. Caravans To The Outer Worlds