Enslaved - "Frost" (Black Metal)

Enslaved – “Frost”

Enslaved - "Frost" (Black Metal)

Enslaved – “Frost” (Black Metal)

Wow. These blokes seem to be heavily inspired by Burzum. And not in the “let’s make good music” kind of way, rather the “let’s have lyrics in Norwegian about Vikings” way. And you know what? I’m fine with that. I’d take that over Gorgoroth’s “Hail Satan” poser crap and Watain’s “I waas raped in the ass as a kid (and enjoyed it)” rantings any day.

S o here we have “Frost,” also known as Enslaved’s second album and direct successor to the “Vikingligr Veldi” mixed bag. Caught somewhere between the epic folk-inspired black metal genius of Neraines and Graveland and the unlistenable war metal of Conqueror, this album “Frost” suffers from the all too common disease of not even knowing what it wants to be.

Like the first release, “Frost” retains a large “black metal” vibe. But this is very surface level, and doesn’t do much beyond reproduce the aesthetics. The raw, enchanting quality of Neraines’ “Yggdrasil” or Burzum’s “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss,” for example, is transformed into a tamer, slower and softer piece of atmospheric proto-post black metal.

Not something you’d usually want to brag about.

Then there are the riffs, and the music on “Frost” in general. Simple and dull and repetitive and repetitive and repetitive. For the sake of being repetitive. Yeah, I get that black metal is repetitive, but this is just sad. Especially when the riffs are not interesting or memorable at all. As are the drumming and bass. Dull and duller.

The album just seems to be trying way too hard to be “different” for its own good, like the post rock of Satyricon that just can’t help but let the emo shine through like someone decided to apply “black metal shoe polish” to what is, essentially, Bullet for my Valentine.

Plus, the clean parts are really lacking as well. The “atmosphere” – and I use the term lightly – on “Frost” as no feeling or vibe to it at all. It’s just clean breaks for the sake of clean breaks. You know how when you listen to “Blood Fire Death” or “Hammerheart” you just want to go on a quest or something? Well, the clean breaks on “Frost” make you want to listen to something else. Like “Hammerheart.” There is nothing to them at all really. Just sound.

It would be nice if “Frost” didn’t suck, but unfortunately it does. Props on avoiding the gay “Hail Satan” boilerplate, but that’s about the only positive I can say about this album. Replace with “Following the Voice of Blood” and “Fallen From the Brightest Throne” for true black metal.

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