Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 23

The countdown is beginning to gather pace now as we get to the lower echelons of the 20s. I hope that my choices thus far have managed to convince you that a Top 30 rather than a Top 20 was necessary. It is ambitious to say the least, but there has simply been too much good music this year that needs shouting about.

If you’ve missed any of my choices up until now, check them out via these links:

Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 24
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 25
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 26
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 27
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 28
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 30

Number 23

enslaved coverEnslaved
‘In Times’
Nuclear Blast Records

Enslaved are one of those bands that, if I’m being entirely honest, I’ve only really admired from afar. There is no disputing the fact that they are a highly accomplished band but up until now, their output has never truly resonated with me. That has changed with ‘In Times’, hence their inclusion within this list despite it being the strongest year to date since I started these mammoth countdowns.

The word ‘unique’ gets thrown about far too often when describing the output of heavy metal bands. However, Enslaved have become truly unique. A constant evolution over the years still sees their extreme metal roots intact but as the albums pass, the roots have become ever-more intrinsically linked to, and entwined with, other elements. Progressive rock and metal, ambient, post-rock, jazz and a whole host of other ideas collide in what can only be described as some of the most fascinating and rewarding heavy metal currently being created anywhere in the world.

enslaved band

But more than that, to these ears at least, ‘In Times’ is as warm and inviting as it is cold, extreme and challenging. There are accessible moments on this record and strong passages that stick in the mind long after the record has stopped playing, more so than on any previous release by the Norwegians. I may be shot down by that last statement, but it is certainly how I perceive things.

‘Thuriasz Dreaming’ may begin in a spiky and confrontational manner, much more aligned with their black metal roots, but as the track develops, more in the way of experimentation comes to the fore including quieter passages, almost discordant sounds and those clean vocals that juxtapose the more guttural delivery excellently.

By contrast, ‘Build With Fire’ is a much more catchy and up-tempo track that bounds along and even introduces a lead guitar solo in the latter stages. ‘One Thousand Years Of Rain’ injects a touch of folk metal into proceedings whilst ‘Nauthir Bleeding’ changes the pace yet again. It is more symphonic and epic in nature but features a great riff at the midway point as well as yet another guitar solo to hammer home the almost euphoric nature of this track.

Containing just six tracks, it is fundamental that each of the compositions adds weight to the overall album and that there are no weak moments. That’s exactly the case here as Enslaved, assisted by a great in-house production and mastering job by Fascination Street Studios, are seemingly incapable of delivering anything short of superb. I love the increased black metal elements and coupled with an increased sense of experimentation and drama throughout, ‘In Times’ is arguably the best that Enslaved have ever sounded.

Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 24
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 25
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 26
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 27
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 28
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

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One thought

  1. Not a band that I have ever listened too. Maybe now is the time? I grew up on Classic/Hard rock – so took this path to progressive music – rather than the more extreme side.

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