Although German black metal is often characterized by razor-thin guitar tones, war-themed lyrics, and an overall violent atmosphere, the music on Munsalvaesche is anything but that. Gentle symphonic passages, viking-styled clean vocals, and a strong traditional folk influence characterize Enid's sound on this album, and calling it "black metal" would be rather misleading to the unsuspecting listener. I'd say that this album has more in common with medieval classical and Nordic folk music than metal, but this is a highly eclectic album and, as such, does contain a few black metal portions to keep the listener on their toes. This isn't an album for the most die-hard of metalheads, but it's a great listen for the rest of us. Though a tad pretentious and inconsistent at times, this is a generally impressive work of art.
I've mentioned earlier that Munsalvaesche has a lot in common with classical and folk music, and that is especially apparent in the opening number "Red Knight" - a pure orchestral track that is epic beyond comparison. Most of the more metal oriented tracks also feature lots of symphonic and folky overtones, but there are also songs like "Belrapeire" that feature a much more modern and synth-driven approach. Munsalvaesche feels a tad inconsistent due to its excessive influences from different genres and styles, yet every individual song is enjoyable and well-composed. I guess slight inconsistency might be a drawback to making music as original as Enid have done here - make no mistake, Munsalvaesche is an incredibly unique and often enjoyable journey.
As strange as it may sound, I find myself enjoying the non-metal portions of Munsalvaesche much more than the heavier sections. The tranquility found in the gentle folk passages is stunning, and the metal sections come across as a bit generic by comparison. That's not to say that the heavy sections are bad, but more just to highlight how wonderful some of those symphonic passages are. I wouldn't call Munsalvaesche a flawless album, but it's a well-composed, original, and professional observation that fully deserves 3.5 stars.
1. Red Knight (5:03)
2. Legends From The Storm (7:43)
3. Belrapeire (6:13)
4. Munsalvaesche (11:20)
5. Condwiramurs (5:42)
6. The Journey (6:24)
7. Valley Under Two Suns (4:53)
8. Sheafs Of Sparks (6:03)