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Enslaved - Caravans To The Outer Worlds Award winner

Enslaved
Caravans To The Outer Worlds
by Andrew Harvey at 28 October 2021, 7:25 AM

All the way from Norway, we have a group of five multi-talented musicians who have been active since 1991, making this year their 30th anniversary. Their style is that of a mixture as it turns out of progressive metal, black metal and viking metal, these elements are all but too familiar with myself. So I am absolutely staggered by the fact that the band is still active and that they have achieved all their ambitions and recognition in the world of metal in Scandinavia. ENSLAVED is their name and they have been described before as “one of the most riveting live acts in metal”.

Their back catalog goes all the way back to 1991 when their formation took place, in their early years, they released a number of demos and EP’s leading the way to their debut album VIKINGLIGR VELDI also released in 1994. In the following years, they released 3 more albums in the 1990’s with a further 6 album releases in the 2000’s. As they have remained active in the last decade, they released another 5 albums however now they are here with a brand new EP titled CARAVANS TO THE OUTER WORLDS released through Nuclear Blast Records.

The start of the EP is introduced with the first track, sharing its name with the EP, “Caravans To The Outer Worlds” is a 6 minute track building up through a crescendo consisting of experimental sound effects with a revolving synth wave and the more progressive elements being the guitar & drums. We are being taken on a journey into the forbidden venture of black metal with essences of viking metal as well, no doubt the contrast between the two vocal lines, clean and scream, is powerful but well produced.


Following on is the second track titled “Intermezzo I: Lonnlig. Gudiig” also features a revolving synth part and then another crescendo of guitar distortion. We can also hear dark, mysterious background noise like people talking or some sort of dialogue between two people. This gives a more progressive or perhaps psychedelic sound to it, the rhythm also goes through a transition with a more rock ballad feel and it ends as so, it’s also shorter in duration to its predecessor.

“Ruun II: The Epitaph” has it’s musicality highlighted by accented drum notation accompanied by enduring guitar playing with sustained notation. The guitar taking the lead narrative also takes a more atmospheric or progressive approach with the next section in this track. Even the more rhythmic section with guitar is fulfilling and brings the track to a more dramatic end but with a gradual diminuendo as this track closes out this EP.

I feel there is a lot to take from this EP, I certainly agree with how the band has been described and I actually thought they sound a little like the band, DREAM THEATRE who are of course, the top band in the progressive metal scene. I suppose maybe ENSLAVED are more like a dark and sinister version of a band like DREAM THEATRE. The EP is a very appealing compilation of what the band has already done but with some new ideas to play around with which could lead to another full length album in the near future, I hope so!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Caravans To The Outer World
2. Intermezzo: Lonnlig. Gudiig.
3. Run II: The Epitaph
4. Intermezzo II: The Navigator
Lineup:
Grutle Kjellson - Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Harp, Electronics and Effects
Ivar Bjørson - Guitars, Keyboards, Piano, Electronics, Percussion and Backing Vocals
Arve Isdal - Lead Guitar and Vocals
Hãkon Vinje - Keyboards and Vocals (Clean)
Iver Sanday - Drums and Vocals(Clean)
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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Edited 17 August 2022
 

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