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Enslaved - Vertebrae

8.3 | 502 votes |
Release date: 26 September 2008
Style: Progressive black metal


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Disc I
01. Clouds
02. To The Coast
03. Ground
04. Vertebrae
05. New Dawn
06. Reflection
07. Center
08. The Watcher

Disc II [Limited edition - Live At The Rock Hard Festival, Germany, 2008]
01. Path To Vanir [live]
02. Fusion Of Sense And Earth [live]
03. Bounded By Allegiance [live]
04. Violet Dawning [live]
05. As Fire Swept Clean The Earth [live]
06. Isa [live]
07. Return To Yggdrasil [live]
08. Ruun [live]

Ivar Bjørnson Peersen - guitars
Grutle Kjellson - vocals, bass
Herbrand Larsen - keyboards, organ, vocals
Cato Bekkevold - drums
Arve "Ice Dale" Isdal - guitars

Session musicians
Ronni Le Tekrø - guitar solo
Johnny Skalleberg - effects

Additional info
Mixed by Evil Joe Barresi at Studio Studio - Toten, Norway.
Produced by Ivar Bjørnson, Herbrand Larsen and Grutle Kjellson.
Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound - New York (NY), US.
Recorded at:
Propeller Music Division - Oslo, Norway. Engineered by Mike Hartung;
Amper Tone Studios - Oslo, Norway. Engineered by Johnny Skalleberg;
Earshot Studios - Bergen, Norway. Engineered by Herbrand Larsen and Ice Dale;
Peersonal Sound - Bergen, Norway. Engineered by Ivar Bjørnson.

Artwork by Truls Espedal.

Limited edition bonus CD recorded at Rock Hard Festival in May 10th 2008 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
Live production by Holger Stratmann and Hannes Jaeckl.
Mixed and mastered by Børge Finstad at Toproom Studio.

Guest review by
In the not too distant past, if you had asked me about Enslaved, I may well have got them confused with any number of bands starting with "En". Enthroned, Ensiferum, 'N Sync… well not the last one thankfully, but I certainly wouldn't have been able to tell you much about them, least of all what they sounded like. But then I found myself reading an "Albums of The Year" list in that self-proclaimed paragon of "True Cult Heavy Metal", Terrorizer magazine. Vertebrae came top. One figured it couldn't be total crap, right?

published 06.01.2012 | Comments (12)

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Comments: 19   Visited by: 759 users
25.01.2010 - 14:51
Rating: 9

This is a decent album that deserves decent review.....beside it was MS pick for 2008

i guess that any MS pick must have a review..specially if it is a good album???
12.07.2010 - 22:59
Rating: 9
Au Pays Natal
I really like this album, great mix of harsh & clean vocals, the music has its heavy moments but enough prog to keep my attention!
18.09.2010 - 18:17
Account deleted
Yeah it's odd this never received a review.
30.08.2011 - 07:59
Rating: 7

I had more trouble getting into this record than their previous releases.
Wendy's frostys are "black metal."
27.10.2011 - 23:00
Night Sight

I recently got this album and all i just can say it's great.not as great as ruun but i still enjoy it.
Alone in birth
Alone in the darkness
Alone in death
Alone in the daylight
19.07.2013 - 06:07
Rating: 8
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
I think there is a subtle brilliance to this album. It took me awhile to get into it, but after about half a dozen listens, it all clicked into place and it was magical. Standout tracks for me are the title track, "New Dawn" and "Reflection". They are just amazing compositions. I keep saying it, but these guys are musical freaks and certainly at the forefront of modern progressive metal. The only negative comment I will make, and it's only minor, is that one track sounds a bit too much like Pink Floyd and another like Tool. I guess those two bands have been big influences for Enslaved.

Addendum: will add "The Watcher" as a standout track as well. Just brilliant and great live when I saw them in Sydney. It also has a cool video clip.
The sun shines over The Fool...
03.02.2014 - 17:31
Rating: 8
Metal Addict
Good album. Maybe even very good, but still compared to its two predecessors and its follow-ups it doesn't sound as captivating to my ears...
"And we are not who we think we are
We are who we're afraid to be"
- Lux Occulta "The Opening of Eleventh Sephirah"
28.04.2014 - 20:16
Nihil's Maw
I really love To the Coast and Center--To the Coast makes me feel like I'm riding the ocean waves on a viking longship, and Center puts me right in the middle of an ancient temple of mystics and shamans--but the entire album sounds pretty magical to me. I love it.

Apparently I seem to like different parts of Enslaved than other people, 'cause I found this album more enjoyable than Axioma Ethica Odini.
22.09.2014 - 16:09
Rating: 7

Out of Enslaved's last five albums, this is for me the weakest of the lot. It's not the weakest by much however, given that there are still many creative songs to choose from, the best of which in my opinion being "Clouds", the title track and "The Watcher". What made me lower the rating is how sometimes there seems to be much more emphasis on atmosphere more than anything else, and whilst that works to the band's advantage for the most part, it makes songs such as "New Dawn" and "Center" mediocre in places. Still a generally great album though.
19.01.2015 - 19:16
Rating: 6
Stamp Tramp
Boooooooooooring. Aside from the solo in "Ground" and some of "New Dawn," there is nothing of note here. Probably their worst album. Not horrible, just freakin' dull.
Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
Listen to the Trench Talk podcast.
27.01.2015 - 01:41
Joe Zombie

I remember listening to this album years ago, and enjoying it very much, so I decided to give it another listen recently. Unfortunately it wasn't nearly as good as I had remembered it. A solid record nonetheless. Favorite tracks: Reflection, The Watcher.
27.01.2015 - 02:37
Rating: 9
Au Pays Natal
This is my first and favorite album from them.
09.03.2015 - 20:01
Nihil's Maw
I like this album way more than this album deserves. "Center" just blows me away every time, and while I find "The Watcher" to be a sub-par track on it's own, it just works so damn well as an album closer.

To tell the truth, most of these songs are actually quite boring on their own, but for some reason, when they're all listened to as a whole album, they somehow work together and strengthen each other. Odd, because this is not a concept album, and the songs don't flow or transition seamlessly in any particularly remarkable way, but all the same, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.

I can tell why other people don't really care for this album that much, but... I don't know, it just seems to work really well for me.
06.09.2015 - 12:17
Written by Jaeryd on 09.03.2015 at 20:01

I like this album way more than this album deserves. "Center" just blows me away every time

"Center" is probably the only song that comes close to stealing "Lightening's" title of my favorite ever Enslaved song. Just as with you, that song simply blows me away.
I am not nor have I ever been a musician or a member of a one-man band, especially a band that has a name that starts with "D".
06.09.2015 - 12:41
Rating: 7
Erotic Stains
I should like this album more than I do. It is a good album, but it should be great. Don't know why though. I like the concept, I like the style. Probably a lack of memorable songs.
20.09.2015 - 17:46
Rating: 8

Like RIITIIR, I think people perhaps slightly underestimate this album, probably because how strong the few albums before and one immediately after are, but I like the more proggy nature and slightly softer feel of it, it makes it stand out from the other albums. "Clouds", "Ground" and "Center" are all really strong songs with some super-pleasant lead guitars and solos on them, and there's a fair few moments that actually make the 'Black Floyd' tag sound reasonable
08.08.2017 - 05:18
Nihil's Maw
Just listened to this album a few times again recently, and I guess I'll just restate what I've said before: this album doesn't seem to be that good for how much I enjoy it, but I end up enjoying the shit out of it all the same. Center is the most memorable song, and the rest of them are pretty much "meh". However, somehow this album--when listened to as a whole and in one sitting--still takes you on a quite a musical journey. Each song is strengthened by its context in the album, and by every other track's presence on it.

tbh I've been going back to listen to Enslaved's other albums as well, and it seems like a lot of their songs are similarly enjoyable for this reason: a lot of the playing time in each of their songs are filled with "meh", yet each song seems to have a really strong part that just blows me away and basically turns the rest of the song into a journey that is essential for building up to those moments.

For example, in RIITIIR, songs like Veilburner start off weak and meanders through a bunch of okay-ish stuff, but it ends with such a powerful musical moment that it makes the rest of it worth it--necessary, even. For this album, To the Coast starts off with such an amazing, powerful moment that I can feel the salty spray of ocean water on my face as I listen to it. Even though some parts of that song aren't super great, they're made better by the presence of that moment, and it wouldn't feel whole without those less enjoyable parts.

I don't know how Enslaved manage to make this work, but they do. Part of what makes them unique, I guess.
08.08.2017 - 21:12
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I don't like this, weakest so far from this band, what can I say? nothing fits, so prog sound demands clean vocals, band did growls, basically reason why I hate pprog and all prog evolutions
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
04.08.2018 - 08:40
Pvt Funderground
Rules just like almost everything they did. Clouds, To The Coast, Ground, Vertebrae, Reflection and specially, The Watchers, are all brilliant songs.
Crackhead Megadeth reigns supreme.

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