ENSLAVED — Below the Lights (review)

ENSLAVED — Below the Lights album cover Album · 2003 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
bonnek
I didn’t get to hear any Enslaved album untill Below The Lights hit the shelves. It was quite a discovery and it has held a strong position in my charts ever since. Musically it is a continuation of Monumension, but it manages to stay clear of the cold experimentalism of that album and merges Enslaved’s prog ambitions with a rocking energy.

The opening track is a treat. Signature Voivod riffs, varying time signatures and an elaborate song structure. It has a very aggressive bite and a number of blast beating attacks that rival their 90’s albums. The Dead Stare is even better. It starts as a blackened version of Voivod again with Grutle Kjellson’s screech in fine form. But around minute 2 magic happens. Enslaved realizes their prog potential here and dive into an extended psychedelic jam boosted by a forceful riff. Hazy vocals, organs and effects weave a big spacey atmosphere around it.

Enslaved found their momentum now and add another batch of some of their best compositions. The Crossing opens with 4 minutes of fine instrumental prog before it changes into an astounding composition that nicely varies their high black metal pitch with more laid-back melodic vocals. The hand of Voivod and the psychedelic daze of early Floyd is never far off.

Queen of The Night opens with a nice bit of Mahavishnu jazz rock before the sharp neurotic chromatic riffs kick in again. Havenless ends this strong string of intense music with a tribute to the pagan chants of their black metal years. Somehow I’ve never fully got into the two remaining tracks on the album. They contain some fine sections but somehow they don’t compare to what preceded. They fail to add remarkable riffs or any other element to make them stand out.

Excellent album but a bit too long.
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