Enslaved - Frost
Osmose Productions
Black/Viking Metal
9 songs (50:16)
Release year: 1994
Enslaved, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Goat

The same year as their classic Vikingligr Veldi was unleashed unto the world, Enslaved released another full-length, Frost, just under six months later, and it’s a step forwards indeed from the rigid yet melodic Black Metal of their debut. Not only were the Viking elements taken further, to the extent of having a song, Yggdrasil, made up completely of Viking chants, but the Black Metal itself is much more varied in style, almost progressive at times, far indeed from the near-ambience of Vikingligr Veldi. It’s interesting, comparing the two, to see how much the band had changed. Whilst the debut was quite warm in feel, almost comforting in its repetition and hypnotic tug, Frost lives up to its name completely by being utterly cold and mechanical, all sharp edges, yet with a strangely organic feel to the instruments. Fear not, despite the generally shorter tracks (the longest being just eight compared to the uniform ten-minute monsters of before) the epic blow is still there - the rolling majesty of first track proper Loke alone is staggering, amazingly melancholic for one perfect moment before Trym’s drums start to blast and the guitars make their presence known.

Whether it’s the furious thunderstorm that is Jotunblod, brief keyboard blasts giving hints of epic glory, or the Thrashy, necksnapping Viking Metal of Gylfaginning, Frost is a stellar piece of Black Metal history that has influenced many a band since. Pretty much every Black Metal band with Folk elements these days has taken influence from Enslaved – the likes of Moonsorrow especially, and many of the Ukrainian scene owe their careers to the Norwegian allfathers. Every aspect of the album, including the spooky intro, is superbly professional... it’s worth remembering that of the band’s members, Grutle Kjellsen was barely in his twenties and Ivar Bjornson was just 16 at the time of Frost’s creation; these musicians clearly born to be in this band. Just listen to the likes of Fenris; many a modern band to kill for that amazing riff, the pure hostility in Grutle’s voice, the varied and experimental structure and the incredibly real and live sound of the drums. I was going to put in some hyperbole about how listening to this is like fighting your way up the mountain on the cover art, but I realised it wasn't necessary - that sort of imagery comes quite naturally to the listener without the suggestion needing to be planted. This is definitely one of the more evocative and rageful albums to come from the Black Metal sphere.

1994 was an amazing year for Norwegian Black Metal; Emperor’s In The Nightside Eclipse, Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger, Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and these two classics from Enslaved are all masterpieces in their own particular way, and whilst you should, of course, own all of them, the fact that Grutle, Ivar and Trym were instrumental in TWO such fantastic albums shows where you’d be a fool not to start. Enslaved all too often miss out on the acclaim thrown at their peers, a situation I’ve never been able to understand, and whilst the especially kvlt sections of MetalReviews’ readership may be cross that I’ve equated Frost with its highly respected elder brother, the two are worthy of comparison, helping to start a genre, influencing countless more and generally being the initial steps down Enslaved’s long and successful career. Absolutely vital albums, without a doubt, and if you don’t own either you’re missing out indeed.

Killing Songs :
All!
Goat quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Enslaved that we have reviewed:
Enslaved - In Times reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
Enslaved - RIITIIR reviewed by Thomas and quoted 92 / 100
Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini reviewed by Goat and quoted 92 / 100
Enslaved - Eld reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Enslaved - Monumension reviewed by Thomas and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 11 reviews click here
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