Enslaved‘s sixteenth album has arrived.
Entitled Heimdal, it leaves no doubt about the Norwegian band’s inspirations, which has been rooted in Nordic mythology since 1991 with the help of a Pagan Black Metal with Progressive influences. Ivar Bjørnson (guitar, ex-Phobia, ex-Mysticum), Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals, ex-Phobia), Arve Isdal (guitar/vocals, Audrey Horne, ex-I), Håkon Vinje (keyboards) and Iver Sandøy (drums, Ilti Milta) are ready to unveil it.
Behind the Mirror will be our first step in this dark universe tinged with heady sounds after a rather solemn introduction. Clean vocals and keyboards easily dominate the soaring and majestic sound before screams and raw riffs emerge to finally let the two aspects cohabit before Congelia lets the abrasive Black Metal roots hit us. The chilling dissonance will slowly emerge in the first part of the charge, letting instruments overlap before vocals resurface, followed by worrying mystical melodies, making this long composition as fascinating as it is chaotic. The choirs that haunt the intense final guide us to Forest Dweller, a much quieter and more ethereal track which lets clean vocals and soft sounds coexist before exploding with Old School Pagan influences complemented by mysterious vocals, then quietness seizes again the end of the track before Kingdom rushes us in this flood of epic melodies again, which the band will contrast with catchy Prog elements. The voice in the background coupled with these energetic patterns feed the ominous atmosphere that will suddenly break to let darkness invade us again, then The Eternal Sea will place some rather modern tones which quickly become haunting before voice offers melancholic shades. The rather heavy atmosphere will finally become aggressive before letting a cybernetic keyboard lead us to the mysterious Caravans To The Outer Worlds where the groovy introduction is followed by a wave of fury including energetic bass, screams and leads with Heavy influences. The raw strength will be soothed by keyboards, then Heimdal, the last track, will place massive saturation on slow and haunting riffs, followed by a heavy moment where a sampled voice drives us to a long epic rhythm that will close the album.
With Heimdal, Enslaved let their Prog roots fully express themselves. Although the Pagan Metal influences are still present in this unique sound, the album is bolder and more soaring than its predecessors, suggesting a desire of changings.