Metal Review: Enslaved – RIITIIR (2012)

Enslaved - RIITIIR (2012)A lot of people forget (or do not realize) that progressive metal giants Enslaved began as black/viking metal outfit turned progressive metal band, and I use progressive metal loosely as Enslaved can really not be pigeonholed into one specific genre.

With each release, Enslaved pushes the boundaries of any genre that they record. Songs are spread out over multiple genres and metal and the legiond of fans that they are growing would have it no other way. Enslaved is getting a tremendous amount of respect these days and it is for good reason. Enslaved teased us with Axioma Ethica Odini and two recent stop-gap EPs to hold us over until the release of RIITIIR. Based on their most previous work, I would have no way expected what was coming with 2012’s RIITIIR. In one word, the album is stupendous, and that is not an adjective that I throw around lightly by any means.

RIITIIR, one of Enslaved’s longest albums actually, consists of epic track after epic track with never a letdown between these tracks. You would think that the opening track, Thoughts Like Hammers, would be the highlight of the album because it will floor you upon listening to it, but it is only one of the best tracks on RIITIIR. There are tracks that actually surpass the progressive genius that Thoughts Like Hammers brings to the table. One such track is Veilburner with its plethora of heavy riffs merged with rock riffs and varying vocals that only Enslaved seems to perfect like this. While I love Opeth, Enslaved is seemingly surpassing them these days.

Weaving through riffs and melodies at a clip that is not seen too often, Enslaved performs magic on a lot of these tracks to bind them together. Each track is loaded with riffs, but they all work together like they should. You never know what is coming and it just works.

On the downside, if you were expecting Axioma Ethica Odini – Part II, you are not going to get it with RIITIIR. It is its own beast and a ferocious one at that. If you were expected more of the same from Enslaved, which is actually more variety, you will be pleasantly surprised with it.

RIITIIR Track Listing:
Disc I
01. Thoughts Like Hammers
02. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn
03. Veilburner
04. Roots Of The Mountain
05. Riitiir
06. Materal
07. Storm Of Memories
08. Forsaken

Disc II [limited edition]
+ Behind The Veil