Enslaved - RIITIIR
Nuclear Blast
Progressive/Viking Metal
8 songs (67:17)
Release year: 2012
Enslaved, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Thomas
Album of the month

I know, I know, this is long overdue. I have been listening to this ever since it was released, but I didn’t warm to it as quickly as I have with more or less every other Enslaved titan dropped from the halls of heroes. I am mainly a fan spawned from Isa and the brilliance it cast into this band’s fantastic career, although I know own and love every single record these guys ever released. Despite all that, Riitiir didn’t jump out and grab me as firmly as Axioma Ethica Odini did. While Axioma exploded into a sea of beauty and darkness that compelled me at once, Riitiir took it’s time to sink it’s teeth in, though once I felt the frozen bite, they were in deep.

Enslaved have pretty much taken everything to a new level with this. The extreme is more extreme, the dark is darker, the beautiful is even more beautiful and their wanderings into progressive territory are getting deeper and deeper.

This clocks in for nearly 70 minutes, which represents what this is, namely absolutely colossal. Thoughts Like Hammers breaks loose like the giant it is, smashing violently through the walls of your inner castle. Waves of slow, doomy riffs breaks into storming chorus that dominated by Herbrand Larsen’s clean vocal lines, directly opposing Grutle’s gurgling grunts. The alternating vocals might be hard to swallow for some, because the frequency is definitely upped here, compared to older material. Some however, might find it welcoming and acknowledge them as the dominating force they have become for this band. Although Enslaved is all about heathen rawness on one hand, their other is characterized by a sorrowful beauty that Larsen handles masterfully, suiting the softer parts, naturally, much better.

Dynamic and compelling, the journey continues. Death In the Eyes of Dawn is probably the first song that will jump straight out and grab you. Slow, dark and extremely radiant, excellent song-writing shines through the ever-pressing darkness. Parts of Veilburner and Roots of the Mountain show that Bjørnson still knows the old tools of the trade, offering a certain grimness that is becoming rarer and rarer, and much to my joy Forsaken could probably even have been drawn straight out of Isa.

‘Cause let’s be honest, Enslaved is a full-grown cosmos of progressive metal and their roots are now only breaking through at certain moments and in the lyrics. The odd structures, shifts, changes, twists and turns have now become their primary source of life. They are no longer serving black metal seasoned with a heavy dose of prog. It’s the opposite. This is progressive metal seasoned with hints of tasty extremity and it fits them perfectly as portrayed by the astonishing Materal.

As the explosive Forsaken plays us out, a feeling of unsettling awe is sinking in. For the last 4-5 albums I’ve been thinking that the top has been reached. The mountain has been conquered. But no, Enslaved elevates their performance, emotion, rawness, brutality and beauty with each and every stroke of genius. This is a sheer demonstration of power.

Killing Songs :
All of them, but these are standing out for me: Death in the Eyes of Dawn, Roots of the Mountain, Materal, Storm of Memories, Forsaken
Thomas quoted 92 / 100
Milan quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Enslaved that we have reviewed:
Enslaved - Heimdal reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Enslaved - Caravans to the Outer Worlds (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Enslaved - Utgard reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Enslaved - E reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Enslaved - In Times reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 15 reviews click here
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