“Ruun” by Enslaved

Artist: Enslaved
Title: “Ruun”
Label: Candlelight Records
Release Date: 5/2/2006
Genre: Progressive Black Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

The band Enslaved were always ahead of the game in terms of Viking/Black Metal but they have truly raised the bar of their sound on “Ruun”, an album that will long be referred to as not only one of the bands best releases but also as a masterpiece of modern Metal. The album succeeds on a number of levels because it is perhaps the most Progressive we have ever found Enslaved performing since their inception over 15 years ago. With their tenth recording the band uses a wide assortment of palettes of music to paint with bringing their listener to fascinating new worlds. Many of the feels reminded me of some of Opeths direction but perhaps it was Mellotron usage in the opening track “Entroper”. It’s a track that will instantly call new listeners to their sound because it has the epic quality that the band is known for but yet takes many Progressive queues and allows the band to reach a wider audience. The song is also melodically sung by keyboardist Herbrand Larsen and he does a fine job of this type of vocal across the album. I find this aspect a perfect companion to the Black Metal growls of Grutle Kjellson as together the music is able to achieve a higher level of experimentation by using the two in unison. The mix of vocals has become an almost common practice and bands that are doing this to positive effect (most specifically the longer lasting one) continue to make the genre more interesting and accessible. Selling records and making more folks enjoy your music is not too much selling out as it is a career necessity. When bands like Enslaved do it, it almost proves a level of “this is OK to do” in the younger Black or Death Metal groups. The album is also a perfect follow up to their last album, the also Progressive laced “Isa”. Tracks like “Ruun” and “Heir To The Cosmic Seed” were among my favorites and show the group as fans of Psychedelic music as well as they mix flavors heard in Pink Floyd music to great effect.

This is a high recommendation and probably one of the most unique Black Metal albums recorded for the year and yet it is unfair to label it as one genre. I think a lot of work, care and creativity have been placed into its construction and recording – It all shows very brightly and makes this one of the more standout records of the year in Metal. This is recommended for Progressive fans that are tolerant of Harder Edged music like this and for fans of bands like Opeth who continually showcase just how well Prog elements work in this genre as a whole. Enslaved prove with this album why they have been such a success for so long. It’s high time for the rest of the world to catch up.

Track Listing:
1. Entroper
2. Path To Vanir
3. Fusion Of Sense And Earth
4. Ruun
5. Tides Of Chaos
6. Essence
7. Api-Vat
8. Heir To The Cosmic Seed

Official Website: www.enslaved.no

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