Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini review
|Album:||Axioma Ethica Odini|
|Release date:||September 2010|
01. Ethica Odini
04. The Beacon
08. Night Sight
[Limited Edition Bonus 7" Vinyl]
01. Jotunblod (Doom)
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.
The only redeeming quality of this band is that the guitars have distortion, other than that it sounds like the rest of an already clichéd mess of metal coming out of northern Europe. It's basically a carbon copy of Immortal or Gorgoroth + (insert any band using the same gimmicks and sound from that region). The guitars drone away with the same simplistic rhythms using a grand total of 3 or 4 bar chords maximum for pretty much the length of any given track. Exhausting? More like headache inducing. The drums are nothing out of the ordinary providing a monotonous driving beat with little or no change, which when compounded with the lack of time changes or anything really interesting at all from the guitars, leaves the listener wondering, where's the beef? Where are the balls this music is supposed to retain which all the fanboys blather about?
Heavy? This couldn't be further from heavy. There's little or no chunk and grind which you'll find in bands like Nevermore or Exhumed. Heavy means driving, deep, rhythmic bass, and double bass drum blast beats with chunky, low, 7 and 8 string guitars. Heavy is music that has bite and gets right up in your face. Enslaved seem to be more about long, drawn out almost symphonic rhythms that never really go anywhere. Where are the time changes? Where are the melodic, blistering solos? Also, what's with all the growling and screaming all the time? Is everyone in Norway really so pissed off that there isn't any time to thoughtfully plan a cd and put some effort into the music?
When did people give up singing for growling, screaming, and grunting as if the vocalist is suffering from a bout of violent diarrhea throughout the entire cd? I like a good growl here and there like Opeth, but after an entire cd of it I want to take an ibuprofen. Enslaved made an attempt at mixing clean vocals with a growl on this cd, but it fell flat like the rest of their music.
The only thing I can fathom about the complete blind-devotion of the fans is that they don't know any better or haven't heard anything better. Enslaved left this listener wanting a hell of a lot more musically and lot less of the exact same tired, angry Nordic "scene," cd after cd. Giving this offering anything over a 3 is being generous.
This cd was a monotonous journey into boredom which would eventually spawn a headache. I actually enjoy bands like Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, and Wintersun because they all offer something musically. Their music actually goes somewhere, and some of the musicianship in these bands is god-like. Enslaved just aren't the caliber of musicians their fans make them out to be. You'll find so much more in bands like Symphony X, Fates Warning, Nevermore, Opeth, Death, Slayer, etc...
I don't hate Enslaved, I just think their music is severely lacking on just about every front. At least it's not Lady Gaga and the guitars are distorted
|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.
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|It is almost certainly true that in each professional musician's life - if they are passionate and serious about their art - comes a point, when they become almost too good at what they do and the result is an album that doesn't take very many risks or doesn't include any truly mind-blowing melodies, riffs, solos, etc. For Enslaved, that point of becoming too good to take risks came with 2010's Axioma Ethica Odini.
Few albums will impress as highly on the first listen as this one, but that's not necessarily a good thing when it comes to (extreme) metal. An initial reaction of "I don't quite get it yet, but it's interesting" holds much more promise of an album becoming a true classic than does "OMG! This is awesome!"
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