Review by Jordonna Lobese
Enslaved has produced 15 full length in-studio albums, and the most recent is Utgard, which is a compilation of 9 extremely different songs that take the listener into various atmospheric landscapes aka ‘soundscapes’.
Utgard was released in October 2020 via Nuclear Blast Records. The band’s sound traditionally began as Norse mythological black metal; yet for this album, they have added an electronic and krautrock sound, especially on the song Urjotan.
Utgard is a lovely progression from their previous albums, yet still encapsulates the band’s original black metal sound.
Enslaved is on a consistent search of inspiration and expression, and it shows.
This album is just as much about atmosphere as it is about the instruments and the two types of vocals sporadically chiming in: clean and clear and metalcore growls.
The sound is so rich with melodic vocals and following guitars, drums, and bass within its layers. A few songs deserve special mention.
Distant Seasons adds a soothing element to Utgard, and Storms of Utgard is a perfect precursor to Distant Seasons. Fluidity of song placement is not obvious, but maybe it is subliminal or hidden between the layers.
Homebound, the fourth song on the album, is a combination of strong and clear, crisp vocals that are outrageous.
The vocal variation is the difference between night and day, but they appear to mesh fantastically.
The guitar work is sooooooo good, that it takes this album to another level. The drums and bass meld together effortlessly.
Throughout the album, it was difficult making a connection between songs. With work as good as this, who really cares? For those wanting an album to really sink your teeth into and revisit again and again, Utgard is the album for you. This is 9 journeys that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
On Tour: http://enslaved.no/tour