Enslaved – Ruun

enslaved_052206_ruunBy jove… I think they’ve got it! You could tell that ever since “Monumension” was released, that the ever challenging Enslaved fancied themselves as “one with the prog”. Whether they successfully achieved this open minded sense of cross pollination or not is still up for debate, but after a brief pit stop on the amazing “Isa” where the band peered into their Voivodian well of creativity, “Ruun” has come along quickly to rekindle Enslaved’s journey into 70’s prog rock experimentation. With the incredibly warm and analog tone found on this album, it seems like they finally hit the right mix of atypical black metal and the aforementioned 70’s rock vibe. Grutle’s scathing vocals remain the unshakable black metal contingent in Enslaved’s sound and frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. His hell-pipes remain as one of my fave deliveries in the genre, but the inclusion of even more tasteful clean/pitch vocal backing lines really adds a nice contrast. The riffs themselves remain awkward, but so much more simplistic and unencumbered by blast beats (there are 1 or 2 only found on here thankfully), as if the rock vibe finally clicked in their minds as they were writing for this album. Add some organ sounds to creep in beneath the warm blanket of guitars and you have a very organic, even nurturing album that offers even more surprises as Enslaved continue to incorporate the Viking spirit in with the final mix. This influence is found in clean, slightly folk inspired guitar lines where the pitch singing seems its most powerful. Enslaved simply possess their own interestingly unique way of writing and Ruun is no exception. Honestly, “Isa” is a very difficult and awkward album to follow-up due to the powerful songwriting and moments of intensity found on that release (easily my 2nd fave album in their catalog, ranking in closely behind “Eld”). You go from something so grating and tense, to the endlessly flowing warmness of “Ruun”, the album initially feels rather anti-climatic. Face it… not 1 single Enslaved album is “easy” to initially comprehend. Like any well developed band worth a shit, you have to work at it a bit to fully realize the headspace needed to lock in on the artists intentions. Definitely fight through the urge to write Ruun off, for repeated listens unlocks the golden material in the form of monstrous riffwork, unshakable hooks and a sacred sense of the bizarre that is at the core of all of Enslaved’s albums. Ruun maintains an atmosphere that comes off as completely unique to me and you simply know the band is proud of this work, for I feel they finally realized where they were going on their long musical journey. Excellent. -Marty

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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