ENSLAVED - Vertebrae CD
Nuclear Blast Records
I have nothing against bands who want to expand the horizons of their craft and move onward. As long as they remember, like people who move from one place to another. Once you have a new address your old one is forgotten. A perfect example for my case is here with Norway's ENSLAVED. They are former veterans of the Norwegian Black Metal/Viking genre. Yes the key word here is "former" because if you thought their last two releases were in the Prog style. You haven't heard nothing yet. No doubt someone has already labeled this "Progressive Black Metal" in earnest to create a new genre term. That person will be executed at dawn. Like I mentioned earlier once you move on then your old address is yesterday's news. ENSLAVED might still add some raspy vocals and brutal blastbeats to their songs. But the bottom line here is that they have progressed away from Black Metal. So they're more of a Progressive act now with the added Blackened overtones. Actually they've been heading in a direction of their own choosing for the past decade. I'm not following them either.
But for those of you expecting Blackened Psych or even something along the lines of a DARK-FLOYD. You'll be disappointed to the point of sickness. As soon as the first song "Clouds" started I wondered if that was Herbrand Larsen playing keyboards or the guy from STYX? As the song moves onto a more rock oriented vibe I'm wondering will I turn into a New Age hippy if I play this more than once. "To The Coast" reminds me of what this band once did great. It's as if they wanna play some Black Fuckin Metal but not for long. Their cult leader must have entered the studio mid-way through the recording. OK guys that's enough nostalgia, get back to the earth fart/synth pop crap. "Ground" is a total PINK FLOYD worship to the point where you'd think Gilmour was doing the guitar solo. By the fourth cut, the title track, I'm ready to die. I wanna find some Indie Rock loser and choke em with this ambient shit. "New Dawn" is another cut that starts off promising, which is a real stretch, but then follows down a path lined with the worst moments of their Isa and Ruun releases. "Reflection" is definitely a cut for fags to dance to. I thought "Center" was probably the worse cut on here. Then the final cut "The Watcher" followed it which proved me wrong. In fact "The Watcher" actually clears all doubts that this is pure New Aged garbage. I pity the people who will like this. It's not Metal at all. It's the background muzac playing while cult members, wearing jumpsuits and new sneakers, are downing cups of arsenic laced Kool Aid. Thankfully we still have this band's early material to enjoy. Although it'll be a while before I play Vikingligr Veldi or Frost. Maybe after a few showers because after listening to this I feel dirty and not in a good way. One more time for emphasis, THIS IS NOT METAL! IT IS VERY BAD SOUNDING PROG-ROCK!