ENSLAVED — Frost

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ENSLAVED - Frost cover
3.82 | 29 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1994

Filed under Black Metal
By ENSLAVED

Tracklist

1. Frost (2:52)
2. Loke (4:21)
3. Fenris (7:16)
4. Svarte vidder (8:43)
5. Yggdrasil (5:23)
6. Jotunblod (4:07)
7. Gylfaginning (5:31)
8. Wotan (4:12)
9. Isöders dronning (7:45)

Total Time: 50:14

Line-up/Musicians

Grutle Kjellson - Bass, Vocals and Mouthharp
Ivar Bjørnson - Guitars & Electronics
Trym Torson - Drums & Percussion
Eirik "Pytten" Hundvin - Special appearance on fretless bass on "Yggdrasil"

About this release

First CD pressing came in a limited edition jewel case with the logo and title
embossed on the plastic
Vinyl was limited to 2,300 copies (2,000 black / 300 blue)

Warning - Osmose CD presses from February 2001 up to around 2005 may contain a
copy-protection method which renders the CD completely unreadable in PCs and
certain modern Hi-Fi systems. This isn't indicated anywhere on the packaging.

Thanks to UMUR, Prog Geo for the updates

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ENSLAVED FROST reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Right from the getgo ENSLAVED were reinventing their sound as evidenced by the extreme change from their debut “Vikingligr Veldi” with its long and hypnotic black metal synthesized fury into the more standard second wave black metal on FROST that encompasses a more traditional aggressive sound that can be heard in the likes of Darkthrone and Emperor. The music here has also taken a leap in the progressiveness. Although the tracks are more aggressive and attempt to blend into the second wave of black metal more, it is also a step up from the debut album in how ENSLAVED can simultaneously blend in and blend out. Once again this unique band is proving that it is anything but the norm.

On FROST we get a more furious black metal approach with the inclusion of synthesized interludes and folk offerings to boot. The chord progressions are upped on the progometer as is the enjoyment factor. This second offering took me a little longer than most to appreciate because of the fact i got into ENSLAVED well after this was released, but as a rabid fan of the black metal scene i am quite enthralled by the prowess of delivery on this one. True it may not have hit me upon first listen and actually took longer than any ENSLAVED release to leave its impression but one day i suddenly found myself really in admiration of the musical delivery heard here.

Although ENSLAVED have been more known and appreciated for their prog adventures in the black metal world, it is here on FROST where the full fury of black metal can be heard with Trym Torson who is better known with Emperor is on full display with his percussive fury adding the depth of bombast that makes this album oh so satisfying. At this stage ENSLAVED were still very much into their primeval Viking metal that even then set them apart from other Viking metal bands that tended to dwell in the death metal camp. Any way you slice it, this is a decent and satisfying black metal release that early on proved that ENSLAVED were quite capable of delivering a new approach on every single album, albeit not fully realized until the 2000s. Perhaps one of my lesser favorite releases but it seems to me that every release in this prolific band’s discography is essential.
Warthur
For the most part, on their sophomore album Enslaved scaled back the use of synthesisers to concentrate on mastering the black metal bedrock of their sound. More aggressive than the preceding album, with lyrical themes revolving around the coming of Ragnarok at the hands of Loki and the Fenris-wolf, the album sees them playing in a somewhat more diverse style than many black metal bands of their generation, with the opening all-acoustic section of Yggdrasil proving that they hadn't turned their back on the experimental approach of the debut, so on the whole I'd say it's another good early release from the band.
Conor Fynes
'Frost' - Enslaved (7/10)

Although Enslaved has greatly shifted their sound over the course of their career, I am of the belief that they have maintained a relatively consistent flow of music, with no albums truly passing me as being 'weak'. Although I first was introduced to the music of this Norwegian black metal band through their later, progressive work, I have recently found myself more drawn towards their primitive early side. A fan and appreciator of black metal in most of its respects, I can say that even though Enslaved has clearly progressed far beyond the sound heard on early albums like 'Vikingligr Veldi' and 'Frost', they were already beyond many of their contemporaries from the start. Although taking quite a different approach to their sound than did the more drawn out debut, 'Frost' maintains a magical quality, infusing their intelligence as musicians with a rawer black metal vibe to create an album that is much closer to mainstream black metal than I am used to with Enslaved, but is every bit as enjoyable and atmospheric as the progressive material.

Suffice to say, Enslaved's debut 'Vikingligr Veldi' greatly impressed me, and went far beyond my expectations with its folky interludes, epic scope of songwriting and symphonic undertones. Although all of these things had been hinted at in the earliest demos of Enslaved, they never came close to being realized. Coming as yet another surprise to me, Enslaved has not necessarily improved their sound with the sophomore 'Frost', but rather changed it up. Instead of ten minute plus bouts of fury and synths aplenty, 'Frost' takes a more orthodox approach to the style, using more concise songwriting formats in general, and exchanging many of the beautiful acoustic interludes for more intense metal buildups. While I would generally be opposed to a band supposedly 'dumbing down' their sound in this respect, Enslaved do manage to largely pull it off, saving just enough of their distinctive qualities to set them aside from their contemporaries.

The production and execution of the music here is fairly standard for black metal of the time; low fidelity, somewhat unpolished and what most outsiders to black metal would consider weak production and mixing. 'Frost' is however, quite a bit clearer a listen than much other black metal of its time, and especially with the lighter folky elements (that are still present here), the dreamy quality that the low fidelity studio grants works really well. Many of these tracks flow together as streams of blastbeats, speedy and simplistic riffs, and rather generic snarls and rasps from Grutle Kjellson. What has always set Enslaved apart however is their ability to throw extra things into this formula. Enter an atmospheric symphonic intro track, a brooding pagan folk song with 'Yggdrasil', and 'Isuder's Dronning', a short epic of sorts with some beautiful acoustic guitars mixed in with atmospheric metal guitars, much in the style that Opeth would adopt for their careers. To top things off, Grutle experiments with clean vocals throughout the album, which usually amounts to a deep pagan chant of somewhat mixed quality. The fact alone that the band adopts these sounds into their style however is enough to distinguish Enslaved, regardless whether or not all of them are done necessarily well.

'Frost' may not stir the same excitement in me as did the debut, but the quality and enjoyment after time is more or less the same. Although Enslaved shifted their style to what some may consider to be the opposite direction of where their career has taken them, it's clear that they never let go of their inventiveness.
bonnek
Frost is a step up from the debut. It still starts very symphonic with a typical orchestral intro, but on the remainder of the album, we find Enslaved experimenting with more progressive tendencies, meaning tempo changes, complex song structures and even a few quiet moments. On top of that the album is a huge blast of energy that is almost never lets down and is nevertheless varied enough to keep your attention throughout its entire course.

Unfortunately the production substandard and will crush all possible enjoyment out of this music. Luckily Enslaved would return to this formula with the more accomplished but equally furious Blodhemn. The only track of interest for the casual listener might be the morose pagan folk song Yggdrasil.

Full of potential but not entirely satisfying in execution, 3.5 stars will have to do.

Members reviews

FMOTP
Enslaved's FROST is not music that will appeal to everyone, or every metal fan. I love Enslaved, the most creative BM band on the planet, so I'll admit to being more than normally biased. This album has a couple of flaws. The sound quality is sometimes rough, especially when it comes to the drums. The occasional keyboards, when they take the lead, sound a little cheap. It's hard to distinguish guitar from bass, but that's stereotypical production for this kind of metal. Let's be honest; sound quality's not why we listen to albums.

However, FROST is a significant move forward for the band, compared to their less mature earlier releases. The longer tracks justify their length for a change. The album's title and cover artwork perfectly suit the music; this is a cold and aggressive record. If you have any appreciation for the black branch of extreme metal, this should be an essential listen for you. FROST is a major development for Enslaved, and one of their finest releases.

Ratings only

  • Nightfly
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • adg211288
  • jahkhula
  • The T 666
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • Lynx33
  • KatiLily
  • kx1992
  • Nazar_Sergijovych
  • NorseGangsta
  • trickster B
  • Zargus
  • Gi
  • progpostman
  • bertb711
  • 666sharon666
  • Pogonomy
  • (De)progressive
  • aecht
  • Wilytank
  • Tlön
  • Anster
  • justametalfan

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