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Enslaved: Utgard

Norway's masters of progressive black metal are back with their 15th studio album, titled Utgard, for Nuclear Blast Records. Fifteen albums in twenty six years...pretty prolific you might say! Utgard follows in a tremendous line of sparking releases from this band, with albums such as In Times, RIITIIR, Axioma Ethica Odini, E, RUUN and many others blending adventurous '70's styled progressive rock with raging Norwegian black & viking metal. The line-up for Utgard features:

Ivar Bjørnson -electric guitars, acoustic guitars, synthesizers, keyboards, sequencer, FX, backing vocals
Grutle Kjellson -vocals, bass, synthesizer
Iver Sandøy- vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards, FX
Håkon Vinje -keyboards, piano, vocals
Ice Dale -electric guitars, acoustic guitars, backing vocals

Vinje, now on his second album with Enslaved, offers up plenty of Pink Floyd styled keyboard soundscapes and clean melodic vocals, and though his vocal style differs from his predecessor Herbrand Larsen, he proves to be a very counterpart to the savage rasp of bassist & founding member Grutle Kjellson. As with many of the more recent Enslaved output, plenty of fluctuations between the two vocalists here, playing off each other quite well on the proggy "Urjotun", as well as the more maniacal "Fires in the Dark" and "Sequence". Layers of guitars and keyboards provide a majestic backdrop to hellish growls and soaring melodic vocals on the lengthy "Flight of Thought and Memory", with Sandoy's blast beats also adding that special extreme element. "Storms of Utgard" is another blistering piece here, followed by the lush "Distant Seasons", which is part early Genesis, Pink Floyd, and atmospheric black metal, this one featuring all clean vocals. Wonderful stuff.

Honestly, there's not a bad track here, which, seems to be the norm with this band. As far as heavy metal acts go in the modern era, it's hard to beat the track record that Enslaved put forth over the last 25 years or so. Incredible album, don't miss it!

Track Listing
1. "Fires in the Dark" 6:00
2. "Jettegryta" 4:56
3. "Sequence" 6:39
4. "Homebound" 5:30
5. "Útgardr" 1:51
6. "Urjotun" 4:21
7. "Flight of Thought and Memory" 6:22
8. "Storms of Utgard" 4:38
9. "Distant Seasons" 4:31

Added: November 22nd 2020
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 876
Language: english

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