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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DerRozzengarten - 30.09.2010 at 23:52  
Great review, loved the album how much further can these guys go?!
Introspekrieg - 01.10.2010 at 01:28  
Quote:
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 Shift."

*Night Sight

Great review, although I didn't find Vertebrae to be that bad, this album certainly blows it away.
atma vichara - 01.10.2010 at 04:54  
Vertebrae was indeed an impressive album !!! But Axioma Ethica Odini brings back the Ruun times of Enslaved !! \m/ \m/
!J.O.O.E.! - 01.10.2010 at 06:26  
Damn girl, you getting all the high profile shizzle. You identified Isa and Below The Lights as the band's highlights so that means the rest of the review is in order and my in my drunkeness I won't have to read it
!J.O.O.E.! - 01.10.2010 at 06:30  
Actually reading the first paragraph you've nailed Enslaved on the head. I've always found each new album more than one square meal to digest in one session; far too many layers and nuances.
BitterCOld - 01.10.2010 at 06:41  
Nice work with the review. i liked ISA and Ruun, really liked Vertebrae a lot... but after about six spins through, i think this quite possibly could be my favorite Enslaved album.

nice mix of continued progress while culling the best elements of their impeccable discography. aggressive vocal and guitar tones coupled with a ramped up tempo on some songs capture the aggression of their earlier works, where parts of the opening track yield shades of "As Far Swept Clean The Earth" (my fave Enslaved song) and several weird moments akin to "Monumension"...

really loving this album.
Mikyz - 01.10.2010 at 11:06  
Spot on review, on this album Enslaved proved once again their musical maturity and genius. Personally, I never expected this release to be on par or even better than Below the Lights and Isa, fortunately they blew me away with this progressive masterpiece.
oroboros - 01.10.2010 at 13:05  
'Waruun' has got some of the most haunting growls i hv heard.
Edmund Fogg - 01.10.2010 at 14:56  
Am I the only one jealous of their talent.Talk about a band that is popular for all the right reason.Damn the album sounds good
Marcel Hubregtse - 01.10.2010 at 16:14  
@grospwele, nope, you're not

btw, just got hold of the special edition which includes heavy 7" containing new versions of Jotunblood and Migration.

Absolutely stunning album this. Contender for album of the year together with the new Mar De Grises.
MeloDeathViking - 01.10.2010 at 17:36  
You're review is spot on. Lightning is by far my favorite song from them, it's just fucking brilliant. This may very well be my favorite release of the year so far.
Fat & Sassy! - 01.10.2010 at 18:18  
Your first paragraph pretty much describes any good progressive album... which is an understatement for this album. This album is really, REALLY good. Probably the first Enslaved album that had me hooked after one listen. And yeah Lightening *is* FUCK AWESOME. \m/
Enemy of Reality - 01.10.2010 at 19:36  
Agree with the review. One of the best of 2010.
Merchant of Doom - 02.10.2010 at 13:48  
I do like the new Enslaved very much, but... I just find it too mainstream! Or should we call it "maturity"? They got rid of all the "weirdness" of Vertebrae, the melodies are polished - "perfect" I would say - the production is fantastic, the performance impeccable. It's heavy, but approachable at the same time. Where are they going to go after this one? Don't get me wrong. It's one of the best albums of 2010 for sure, but I can't help thinking that we lost them forever...
Daniell - 02.10.2010 at 14:04  
Especially the harsh vocals are extremely approachable.
Merchant of Doom - 02.10.2010 at 14:28  
Written by Daniell on 02.10.2010 at 14:04

Especially the harsh vocals are extremely approachable.


I would have thought that a reviewer (albeit a biased one) would be able to read other people's comments properly... but I was wrong, obviously...
Daniell - 02.10.2010 at 14:42  
So we both misunderstand each other. Let me put it in a non-sarcastic way:
This album isn't more approachable than Vertebrae or Ruun. The two previous releases were much less "weird" as you put it.
Opinions differ, so let's not fight here...
Merchant of Doom - 02.10.2010 at 15:00  
Well, I think it is more "approachable" (or mainstream, if you like), in the sense that it's much more streamlined, less varied and more one-dimensional than its predecessors. Seems to me they just wanted to simplify things, get on with things. Songs are big and monolithic and the production far too polished. If I can make a comparison with another band (which I love too), they've turned into a black metal version of Opeth.. shame... I'm afraid they've lost their edge for me...
Daniell - 02.10.2010 at 15:03  
Their new "edge" is good enough for me
Merchant of Doom - 02.10.2010 at 15:10  
Written by Daniell on 02.10.2010 at 15:03

Their new "edge" is good enough for me



you are easily pleased...
Daniell - 02.10.2010 at 15:14  
It seems to me that your impassable criteria for really good music is its "unfriendliness" to the listener. The moment something starts to sound too polished (Enslaved doesn't in my opinion), you become concerned/disappointed. It's of course up to you, but you miss out on too much good music this way.

As for me being easily pleased. I enjoy a lot of music, and a lot of genres. I also enjoy non-metal bands like, foe instance, Pink Floyd, or Porcupine Tree, or Dire Straits, or Massive attack. Polished sound doesn't disqualify music in my eyes. First and foremost, I want music to be good and engaging. I don't give a fuck about how polished or abrasive it is.
Merchant of Doom - 02.10.2010 at 15:42  
Ah, ok, I can see why Axioma is extreme enough for you... I was just questioning their reason to become a black metal carbon copy of Opeth, the rest is just your (misguided, in my opinion) assumptions on what I was trying to say... and BTW, I think you missed the bit "I like the new Enslaved very much"...
Daniell - 02.10.2010 at 15:54  
That bit is an effort to fend off picky pricks like me, clearly a failed one

"Extreme enough"? No, it's not extreme enough. It's good music, regardless of how extreme it is.
Anaal Nathrakh is extreme. But it also is quite poor musically. Coffins is extreme, and also plain cool to listen to. Funeralium is extreme, the vocals take care of it. Wormphlegm is extreme in every aspect, it's the most "evil" sounding band in my opinion. I could go on, but I hope you do get my message. I don't expect mainstream from every band, I just don't see polished sound as a flaw.
Merchant of Doom - 02.10.2010 at 16:07  
I don't think we will ever agree on this one... time will tell!
Collin - 03.10.2010 at 13:32  
The opening riff of Ethica Odini sounds uncannily like the opening riff of April Ethereal on My Arms, Your Hearse. I noticed that yesterday.

If it stands the test of time, the album itself may very well become my favourite by Enslaved. I really enjoy the contrast clean vocals / fast music and the songwriting is really solid and more focused than on the previous three albums. It will certainly end up in my top 3 of the year. Possibly even a strong contender for the top spot.
Daniell - 03.10.2010 at 13:34  
Written by Collin on 03.10.2010 at 13:32

It will certainly end up in my top 3 of the year. Possibly even a strong contender for the top spot.


Same here. So far it's Enslaved, Nevermore and Drudkh.
Collin - 03.10.2010 at 13:45  
Written by Daniell on 03.10.2010 at 13:34

Written by Collin on 03.10.2010 at 13:32

It will certainly end up in my top 3 of the year. Possibly even a strong contender for the top spot.


Same here. So far it's Enslaved, Nevermore and Drudkh.


For me it would be Enslaved, Throes Of Dawn, Mar De Grises/October Falls/Drudkh/Misery Index (can't decide which one yet).
Daniell - 03.10.2010 at 13:47  
Damn, I forgot about Mar De Grises...
hahabuhu - 03.10.2010 at 20:02  
Insightful indeed! I'll be checking out all of your other reviews now. That first paragraph says it all so well on the subject of musical discovery and a sound digestive system. For me this albums makes six top quality releases since Monumension where I came in. Hard to think of a match in consistency coming from any other direction.
advent - 04.10.2010 at 00:27  
Very ordinary album , musicianship could be the only powerful aspect on this album , anyway they play it safe and nothing had impressed me , especially songwriting
Baz Anderson - 04.10.2010 at 00:50  
A gem of an album.
Introspekrieg - 04.10.2010 at 01:21  
Written by advent on 04.10.2010 at 00:27

Very ordinary album , musicianship could be the only powerful aspect on this album , anyway they play it safe and nothing had impressed me , especially songwriting


They didn't push the boundaries as much as they did with Vertebrae, but I think they just wanted to bring the heaviness and rawness back to let people know they weren't going soft. I was definitely not expecting an album this extreme after Vertebrae, maybe that is why it has had such an impact... I don't know. I felt the same way as you after the first listen, impressed by the musicianship but not really feeling anything stick in regards to songwriting. It took a couple of spins before the bizarreness of certain segues started to hit me and grab my attention...
advent - 06.10.2010 at 02:26  
Btw , i didn't like the review , to much praise , neither the rating , the reviewer sounds like a die-hard Enslaved fan , i think the album has a lot of flaws to be mentioned
Marcel Hubregtse - 06.10.2010 at 03:44  
Written by advent on 06.10.2010 at 02:26

Btw , i didn't like the review , to much praise , neither the rating , the reviewer sounds like a die-hard Enslaved fan , i think the album has a lot of flaws to be mentioned


like what flaws?
Daggon - 06.10.2010 at 07:06  
Holy Fucking Shit!!! This is probably the greatest album I have listened in the entire year. Now I'm sure as fuck of two of my votes for the Metal Storm Awards of this year
Daniell - 06.10.2010 at 09:51  
Written by advent on 06.10.2010 at 02:26

Btw , i didn't like the review , to much praise , neither the rating , the reviewer sounds like a die-hard Enslaved fan , i think the album has a lot of flaws to be mentioned


Reviewed by a fan - bad. Reviewed by a hater - bad. Who do you suggest should review albums? E.T.?
Anyway, I at least justified my opinion, you didn't. Why open your mouth if you have nothing to say?
advent - 06.10.2010 at 23:34  
Written by Daniell on 06.10.2010 at 09:51

Written by advent on 06.10.2010 at 02:26

Btw , i didn't like the review , to much praise , neither the rating , the reviewer sounds like a die-hard Enslaved fan , i think the album has a lot of flaws to be mentioned


Reviewed by a fan - bad. Reviewed by a hater - bad. Who do you suggest should review albums? E.T.?
Anyway, I at least justified my opinion, you didn't. Why open your mouth if you have nothing to say?


Calm dawn it's just an opinion , you of course have the right to ask me to justify my opinion and here it is :

about your review: 1- i think your review is not honest enough at some parts, even your describing can be read in any praise review, and of course any album even if it's so good the reviewer must note flaws as he notes the powerful aspects of the album , which i didn't see , only praise

2- most of review described Enslaved performance on this album , and of course they skilled musicians playing since 1990's , and being able to play with same enthusiasm is a good point to mention in your review but not the only one to be count on , you didn't mention another factors like originality and songwriting which i think it is huge step back in this album , also there no real evolution can be find in this a;bum , and of course heaviness is not an evolution . In other words they know how to deliver and execute there music well , but the issue is in their music being uninspired and very ordinary.

3- usually i don't complain about ratings but i guess 9.5 is to way unrealistic.

about the album : 1- as i said before musicianship could be only powerful aspect on the album , nothing interesting could be found in their songwriting , and for me , it is the core of any listenable music.

2- i know that it is hard to listen to any original music in metal , but for Enslaved i expected them to be more creative.

Eventually , it is okay album , but for me it is way overrated for me , and of course i could be wrong.
Dangerboner - 07.10.2010 at 01:21  
This is a good album, but really overhyped. It sounds too much like Opeth for people to be saying it's original.

It's my favorite album by them that I've heard, but I'd still give it a 7/10.
Marcel Hubregtse - 07.10.2010 at 02:19  
@advent and still you haven't any of the so called flaws. As for progression does a band really have to "progress" in order to deliver a masterpiece?
This album certainly is different from the last couple they delivered. Here they found the right balance between their old and new sound.

For me this is THE album of the year. Up till now not a single one comes within touching distance, except for the new Mar De Grises.
Daggon - 07.10.2010 at 09:39  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 07.10.2010 at 02:19

For me this is THE album of the year. Up till now not a single one comes within touching distance, except for the new Mar De Grises.


I wholeheartedly agree with you my friend. Still I think Mar De Grises new album is below "Axioma Ethica Odini"

Hey everybody, as I said once in the review for Solution .45, "it's not about reinventing the scene, just about make it better", what I wanted to say is that you don't have to "progress" in each album, you just have to do what you know to do best, but if you can do it better, then fucking do it!
Take Behemoth or Amon Amarth for example, their last releases are just a copy-paste of their previous albums, but it's just the same music, again and again, without adding some "spirit" to the music, now take Enslaved or Warbringer, they have released something astonishing in their last releases, they are still playing the same genre of their previous albums, but they added something new, the music is different, even if they are not adding way too different elements to their music. I don't know if I explained myself very well, but those are my thoughts.

Axioma Ethica Odini = Album Of The Year
Daniell - 07.10.2010 at 09:42  
Written by advent on 06.10.2010 at 23:34

nothing interesting could be found in their songwriting


I of course respect your opinions and it's perfectly ok with me if you like the album much less than me, but these words must be the funniest tthing I've read on MS this year.
Derwood - 07.10.2010 at 09:58  
I really don't get the hype for this album. It fails to hold my attention at all and I don't hear anything that gets it out of mediocre territory.
Daniell - 07.10.2010 at 11:00  
I understand. It's just not your cup of tea. I myself am almost completely impervious to grindcore. To me it's a stupid, pointless genre, and good albums are fewer than my toes. I guess it's the same with Enslaved for you.
InnerSelf - 07.10.2010 at 12:26  
Well I finally had the chance to listen to this album and you can imagine the HUGE expectations I had , and it totally lived up to these expectations

highly addictive
Daniell - 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!
Winterthrone - 07.10.2010 at 17:19  
In my heart this album is already THE album of the year. The perfect balance between progressive and black metal, they finally reached it! Oh, and the clean vocals are so good on this one. Thumbs up for Enslaved!
advent - 07.10.2010 at 17:55  
Written by Daniell on 07.10.2010 at 09:42

Written by advent on 06.10.2010 at 23:34

nothing interesting could be found in their songwriting


I of course respect your opinions and it's perfectly ok with me if you like the album much less than me, but these words must be the funniest tthing I've read on MS this year.

Strange , i had never been a "funny' person , anyway , a couple of good riffs or mood shift wont make it more interesting, just compare it to Runn and Isa songs .
GT - 07.10.2010 at 18:45  
Finally listened to this. It's pretty good. I can see why someone mentioned Opeth only Enslaved totally owned them. This is way better. Since it's my first listen I'm not at a score as high as the review, but it might change. Definitely one of the top albums this year
Merchant of Doom - 09.10.2010 at 14:50  
After a few more spins, it's still growing on me... although the songwriting is less complex, it has gained in directness and approchability. But Dark Fortress are at the moment keeping it off my CD player...
TheBigRossowski - 09.10.2010 at 17:31  
This album is brilliant. The review is great as well too, Dude. I bet I'll be listening to this one a few times.

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