Rating:
9.5
Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
27 September 2010


01. Ethica Odini
02. Raidho
03. Waruun
04. The Beacon
05. Axioma
06. Giants
07. Singular
08. Night Sight
09. Lightening

[Limited Edition Bonus 7" Vinyl]
01. Jotunblod (Doom)
02. Migration


Let me tell you how I know that an album is hard to digest but great. When I put it on for the first time, most of the songs blur together, it's impossible to tell them apart. The first impression about the album is accentuated by those cool fragments of songs that remain in my memory. During the second listen I manage to hear most of those fragments. Just when I'm about to play the album for the third time to get those last cool bits, I realise that there are some more cool bits that I picked up during my second listen. With every consecutive listen, the number of cool bits increases, and my mind connects them to respective songs. After 10 listens all bits are in place, the picture is complete and my smile is wider than a six-lane freeway, because the album is brilliant.

This is exactly the case with Axioma Ethica Odini. With every listen you will discover a new gem of a song. You will encounter a new, surprising time signature. You will be amazed by another mood shift, keyboard part, vocal line, or labyrinthine progression of riffs within a single song. "Ethica Odini" will keep you enchanted with its catchy, yet wonderfully convoluted chorus and ominous keyboards, creeping just underneath the guitars. "Singular" will enthrall you with its ever-shifting time signatures and seduce you with a psychedelic guitar passage and eerie vocals that come about six minutes into the song. You will be captivated by the majestic beginning of "Giants," slowly thickening, sinister buildup to the madness of "Waruun," or the mellow beginning of "Night Sight". Finally, "Lightening" will bring you to your knees - this is the most progressive and ambitious song Enslaved have ever written. Let me also add that it's their best song to date.

Enslaved's journey to greatness has had, so far, two highest points: Below the Lights and Isa. Ruun and Vertebrae developed concepts first mastered on Isa, at the cost of abandoning some of the band's root values - musical heaviness and aggression. Excellent as they are, the previous two releases display a somewhat tenderer side of Enslaved. Axioma Ethica Odini successfully alloys the old style with the new direction. Enslaved sounds angry and heavy like 15 years ago, but at the same time they're more progressive than ever. Keyboards work stealthily, yet steadily, lending the songs majestic depth. Sparsely, but wisely used clean vocals break the wall of sound with intriguing, haunting melodies. Unique guitar style permeates all riffs, imbuing them with a peculiar oddity that only Enslaved possesses. This album is a perfect connection between the old and the new Enslaved. It's also a perfect stepping stone to an even more stellar career.

The beginning of the 1990's brought us plenty of excellent black metal bands: Mayhem, Enslaved, Emperor, Satyricon, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal, to name just the essential classic few who defined black metal for at least two decades. Some of them ceased to be, some of them are still active. But out of all those that are around, Enslaved stands as THE major force. Not only in black metal, but extreme metal in general. The bravest, the most creative and inventive. The closest to what very few are privileged to achieve - musical immortality.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Enslaved
Album: Axioma Ethica Odini


 


written by Daniell | 30.09.2010

Guest review by
ponderer

Rating:
2.9
Here we are again. I say that because Enslaved are beating the proverbial "Nordic Black Metal" horse to death. It seems like this is becoming a standard out of the Northern European Black Metal scene these days. Scary makeup, growling vocals, droning guitars, and a complete lack of direction other than to throw in some "evil" lyrics. Like anyone will ever go as far as Mercyful Fate did in the 80's lyrically? Doubtful, and I haven't seen anyone do it yet.

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published 12.12.2010 | Comments (118)



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InnerSelf - 13.10.2010 at 13:30  
Written by Daniell on 07.10.2010 at 14:15

Written by InnerSelf on 07.10.2010 at 12:26

highly addictive


I wish I had used it in my review, it's so true!



It certainly is , until today it is still spinning regularly and every time it does I find new things that I like about it either new riffs or new vocal lines "it has all been said in the review"

And still some people say it is not a good metal year !!!
hadriel - 13.10.2010 at 21:49  
Great review...Been playing this non-stop along with the Mar De Grises album. Great to see some quality albums finally getting released this year...wasn't looking very promising a couple of months ago.
SKELETOR - 15.10.2010 at 17:04  
Wtf? it s very cool this is quality metal:maniac:
Wrathful Enigma - 20.11.2010 at 09:48  
Saw these guys live last night with Dimmu Borgir. A great show. I bought this album there and got it signed. When I got home I gave it a listen but my mind was too tired to comprehend what was going on anymore. Today I gave it another listen. It was absolutely brilliant. I loved everthing about it. From the keyboard and clean vocals to the heaviness and coarseness of the guitars and vocals. Hail Enslaved!!!
Necrodamus - 21.11.2010 at 09:03  
Hands down, this is my favorite album of the year. They have topped their last release in terms of quality and pure musicianship. I'll be listening to this for years to come. Great review, btw.
tea[m]ster - 26.11.2010 at 19:25  
Very good review. I've listened to this three times now (not enough to vote IMO) and a few things stand out. The production of this album blows away any of their previous works. These guys must practice alot because their musicianship improves with each album. I have 600 albums, not one other band sounds like Enslaved - originality always keeps me interested.
Nyxgrinder - 15.12.2010 at 05:24  
The mods should delete the other review.......Ethica Odini, Singular and The Beacon are masterpieces why the fuck he or she rate it with a 2 ???
Aetherius - 16.12.2010 at 09:06  
Awesome album!!
Czerny Reiter - 10.01.2011 at 18:57  
Ethica Odini, Giants and Lightening alone are well worth the admission price. This is an extraordinary album with a lot to offer. The riffs and drumming are simply out of this world.
ErnilEnNaur - 04.03.2011 at 22:15  
As a person who's never been able to get into black metal, I am enjoying this much more than I thought I would. The atmosphere is great on this album and the comparisons to Opeth that I've read are actually really rather appropriate. Wow, it seems I might be getting into black metal after all. Damn good album.
!J.O.O.E.! - 04.03.2011 at 22:32  
Written by Guest on 04.03.2011 at 22:15

As a person who's never been able to get into black metal, I am enjoying this much more than I thought I would. The atmosphere is great on this album and the comparisons to Opeth that I've read are actually really rather appropriate. Wow, it seems I might be getting into black metal after all. Damn good album.

I more or less got into black metal with Enslaved's 'Isa' 6 or 7 years ago. Isa does have an unbeaten status for me, but this record is nipping at its heels in quality, though it is a bit different. I'm growing out of black metal though now it seems.
ErnilEnNaur - 04.03.2011 at 22:41  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 04.03.2011 at 22:32

I more or less got into black metal with Enslaved's 'Isa' 6 or 7 years ago. Isa does have an unbeaten status for me, but this record is nipping at its heels in quality, though it is a bit different. I'm growing out of black metal though now it seems.


Haven't listened to "Isa", but I am loving AEO more and more every second. I really didn't expect this kind of atmosphere and sound from a black metal band, they sound completely different from what I was afraid to get, in a good way. I've never grown out of any genre of metal though, I don't think I am capable of that. It all started with symphonic metal for me, then came industrial, death, power, heavy, prog, folk and everything else and now thanks to Enslaved, it seems the list is almost complete for me. Actually, I've always like Bal-Sagoth a lot, but I consider them more of a symphonic metal band than a black metal band.
Slayer666 - 04.03.2011 at 23:27  
Written by Guest on 04.03.2011 at 22:15

As a person who's never been able to get into black metal, I am enjoying this much more than I thought I would. The atmosphere is great on this album and the comparisons to Opeth that I've read are actually really rather appropriate. Wow, it seems I might be getting into black metal after all. Damn good album.

OK, I hope I won't get flamed by the MS community here, but I feel like putting AEO into black metal category (with no prefixes) is not completely right. Sure, there is a ton of black metal influences here, but to me it feels like the most important feature of black metal, which is to say its cold, hateful atmosphere and the overall negative, pessimistic feel is missing. Tracks like "Ethica Odini", "Lightning" and others are too damn uplifting, almost fit for a sing-along. You don't get that in BM.
I don't know, that's just me, I guess I'm the weird one...
!J.O.O.E.! - 04.03.2011 at 23:56  
There's no hate on this album. Enslaved haven't had hate in longer than I can remember (if they ever had).

Black metal isn't even about that kind of thing anymore. Some may try to perpetuate that old ideal but darkness gets boring pretty soon.

A more informed, less alcohol fueled response tomorrow perhaps.
Troy Killjoy - 05.03.2011 at 01:08  
Written by Slayer666 on 04.03.2011 at 23:27

OK, I hope I won't get flamed by the MS community here, but I feel like putting AEO into black metal category (with no prefixes) is not completely right. Sure, there is a ton of black metal influences here, but to me it feels like the most important feature of black metal, which is to say its cold, hateful atmosphere and the overall negative, pessimistic feel is missing. Tracks like "Ethica Odini", "Lightning" and others are too damn uplifting, almost fit for a sing-along. You don't get that in BM.
I don't know, that's just me, I guess I'm the weird one...

Might be called out as being elitist here, but I'm in partial agreement. Enslaved, to me, do not represent pure black metal. They bring a lot of nice progressive elements to their sound, but the atmosphere on a lot of their releases is totally unfitting for what I would define as a black metal album. I wouldn't call it uplifting or fit for sing-along, but it's definitely accessible and almost too far removed from the roots of the genre for me to think of it restrictively as black metal. It's like extreme progressive, a la Ihsahn.
Slayer666 - 06.03.2011 at 10:08  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.03.2011 at 01:08

Might be called out as being elitist here

Why? It's not elitism, just a fact.

Quote:

It's like extreme progressive, a la Ihsahn.

Ah, yeah, I was strugling find a propper name for this style, but extreme progressive nails it.
Frost Beast - 05.10.2011 at 23:48  
Written by InnerSelf on 07.10.2010 at 12:26

highly addictive

No mistake there, my friend.
Apothecary - 15.01.2012 at 02:33  
Very well written review. I definitely agree with you that it's an album that grows on you the more you listen to it, and I love albums like that: where each time you listen, you notice something you didn't before. Shows that a band put a lot of thought into composition.
Ace Frawley - 05.09.2012 at 11:24  
Thanks, this is a really good review. I feel the same way about discovering new bits with each listen. To me, that is the hallmark of a really good album because the songs are complex and interesting. A very talented group of musicians.

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