Release Date: Oct 9, 2012
Record label: Nuclear Blast
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
In late August, a full month before the release of RIITIIR, the latest album by Norwegian metal giants Enslaved, New Jersey-based blog the Obelisk posted a 3,400-word review of the record. Beginning with a summary of their two-decade output before dutifully plowing through a detailed song-by-song analysis, it was the sort of tome that other publications might reserve for the likes of Bob Dylan or, elsewhere, Arcade Fire. And for a certain sect of heavy metal fans, Enslaved is that band.
On their 12th full-length album, Norway’s favorite spacey black metallers bring plenty of strange pagan flavor to eight tracks of mid-paced dissonance, with electronic thumpings and eerie flute sections scattered throughout the howling guitars and snarled vocals. Unfortunately, every song ends up sounding too similar, even as the band breaks, as always, from black metal’s norms. Tracks like “Root of the Mountain” and “Materal” contain the group’s signature pitch-black fluidity, but lack the direction and distinctiveness of similar tracks from previous masterpieces Below The Lights and Ruun.
The process of accretion, in the astrophysical sense, happens when a massive gravitationally body (i.e., a black hole) gradually pulls matter away from nearby objects, like stars or galaxies, adding their light and substance to its already impossibly dense heart. This process finds its parallel in RIITIIR, the 12th studio album from legendary extreme metal act Enslaved. Their career is a vast and varied one, from their early days experimenting with black metal (their debut was released on Deathlike Silence Records shortly after Euronymous's death) to pioneering Viking metal to increasingly baroque and complex iterations of progressive metal.
Norway’s progressive metal monoliths hit the big dozen. Spencer Grady 2012 The self-appointed custodians of black metal’s unholy sacraments don’t take kindly to dissent, especially from their own infernal brood – just ask Burzum’s Varg Vikernes. So expect rivers of tears to curdle the corpse paint when kvlt purists cast ears to RIITIIR, the twelfth album from Norway’s doyens of enlightened metal extremism, Enslaved.