ENSLAVED - ELD
Enslaved are another Norwegian band who were there at the beginning. They're also one of the few that have endured through the years, now playing a much more progressive form of the genre.
Eld is their 3rd full-length album, and a bit of a transitional one. After the excellent debut, and the even better Frost, Eld takes things in a more progressive direction, starting with excellent 16+ minute epic, "793." The song is a journey from ambient beginning, folkish black metal middle, and thrashy ending. This song really has it all. After that track, Enslaved fall back into more traditional black metal fair with the high-energy "Hordalendingen," still completely in Norwegian.
Enslaved have a good command of melody and smooth transitions, notable in "For Lenge Siden," a sorrowful melody flowing into a steady metal groove. "Glemt" is another standout - hitting some choice chords as well.
The one drawback in this album is a bizarrely mixed snare drum that sounds apart from the rest of the mix. Much of the music has that "far away" quality, but the snare sounds like it's right next to the mic - it doesn't fit. Also, the album seems to lose steam after it's epic opening track. The following songs have their moments, but they fail to match the quality of the previous two albums.
Ultimately, Enslaved are another band that employ melody and riffs as the driving force behind their music. The atmosphere of the opening track does not necessarily carry through the rest of the album, but Eld is a strong and worthy effort. It gets a 3.5 out of 5.