July 21, 2024

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TMD Rules!

ENSLAVED’s new studio album, In Times, released via Nuclear Blast Records in 2015 features six tracks that clock in at a minimum of eight minutes each. And guess what? Not one of them is epic. No longer the straight up black metal inspired outfit they first began as, the band today has morphed into what I call ‘dark prog rock’. The vocals are at times sang clean and then other sections in an extreme delivery. I absolutely hate this sort of approach when it is not pulled off right. Sweden’s Avatar does it best for me, because of the sheer talent of the vocalist. But when you don’t have the goods, lay off trying to sound like Barry Manillow. It sucks too because I feel mainman Grutle Kjellson’s raspy, growl is really cool sounding when he lets it fly. Why cheapen that with lame ass ‘clean vocals’… that to be blunt sound tamer than a 1960’s folk singer? The bore fest kicks off with the lackluster “Thurisaz Dreaming”, next followed by the at times interesting “Building With Fire”, again, only when you get past the corny as all hell singing that ruins most of it.

Track three’s “One Thousand Years Of Rain” definitely has more of a pulse to it. I dig how the drumming by Cato Bekkevold sounds on this song. It’s certainly the most aggressive sounding cut to this point. But it doesn’t blow me away, you know? There’s no real groove to any of it, or kick ass parts that makes you want to play any of these songs a second time. The musicianship and album production here is adequate at best. Up next is “Nauthir Bleeding” and the title track “In Times”, and both helped to finally put me to sleep. Yes, you read that right. I actually fell asleep while listening to them. I woke up in time to wipe the drool from my mouth to hear the final tune “Daylight”. This one finally sounds more haunting and black metal’ish, and features some cool guitar work but I am afraid it’s a little too late to save this mediocre offering.

Rocket Rocks!
Rocket Owns!

ENSLAVED – “In Times” (CD)

(Nuclear Blast/2015)

01 – Thurisaz Dreaming
02 – Building With Fire
03 – One Thousand Years Of Rain
04 – Nauthir Bleeding
05 – In Times
06 – Daylight