Enslaved’s name has become synonymous with the art of nose-diving into the unknown, throwing caution to the wind and embracing whatever technique and forward thinking mind frame feels right at the given time. It’s that outlook on musicianship and song writing that has seen Enslaved morph, majestically, into the monolithic avant-garde and progressive presence that they are today, particular since 2004’s boundary shattering Isa.
The Norwegian heavyweights still nonetheless have the darkened blood of yore running through their veins. Their black metal and Viking metal pasts are what made them such visceral components of the now infamous Bergen scene. But since then Enslaved have even been called the “Pink Floyd of extreme metal”.
Every so often the press fire a label like that on a band that only belittles them more so. Why should they be correlated with another act that they or anyone for that matter can’t match? Enslaved are an entity entirely to themselves, with their own modus operandi. But like many Floyd albums Axioma Ethica Odini is a glorious suite of music intended for one single listen, something necessary to fully soak in this stunning musical journey.
For so long we were living in the age of brevity in music and the art of the album was evanescing amongst the maelstrom. But in recent years some bands, including Enslaved, have continued to perpetuate the aesthetic of the album and digesting it whole. In the case of Axioma Ethica Odini, that’s in one glorious listen.
From the ambling riffs of ‘Ethica Odini’ to the grandiose ‘Lightening’, Enslaved take you on that incomparable musical journey. No band of their ilk before them has accomplished such splendour before.
They’ve once again taken the primeval nature of black metal and injected it with beautiful scents of verdant melody, emphasised by Herbrand Larsen’s clean, almost operatic, vocals which are a stunning dichotomy next to Gruttle Kjellson’s almighty barks and guttural growls. Axioma Ethica Odini – another triumph. But honestly, were you expecting otherwise at this stage?