People often ask what attracts me to the extreme metal scene. Quite simply, it’s because that’s where all the innovation is, and a fine case in point would be Enslaved.

Enslaved’s entire career in music has been a journey, beginning in the frosty, twilit Norwegian Black Metal scene of the early 90s and culminating here and now with Utgard, their 15th studio album.

Utgard is a magnificent album and a worthy successor to their previous release, E. From the opening chants of Fires in the Dark to the lush, soundscape of closer Distant Seasons, it is in itself a journey. Via the icy, brutal riffs and vocals of Jettegryta, we are led through an atmospheric spoken word track Ütgardr and the surprising and soaring Urjotun. Surprising because the intro wouldn’t sound out of place on Queen’s Flash Gordon soundtrack. En route, there are psychedelic hints of Hawkwind and discordant traces of Voivod, but we never forget who’s at the wheel.

This is Enslaved at their experimental, proggy best, and a genuine contender for metal album of the year. So, if you’ve never checked out Enslaved before, hop aboard because you’re in for one hell of a trip.

Published by Richard E. Rock

Cat-loving, headbanging author of the dark and fantastical.

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