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Review: Enslaved - Heimdal

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2023
Duration: 48:22
Tracks: 7
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: March 30, 2023
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (6 Votes)

Enslaved have been getting weird on us for a little over 20 years now, and Heimdal is no exception. I’ve found that, since Below the Lights, I’ve liked every other album from the band. I really liked Utgard, so by law I can’t quite like Heimdal. That’s true to some extent. ;)

This album is one of those where they get weirder and not so much black/Viking metal. There’s a lot of progressive metal that’s pretty tame and, well, barely metal, and we’ve come to expect that from the band over the past couple of decades. I didn’t like the album at all on the first couple of listens, but it’s been growing on me even though that’s not the kind of Enslaved stuff I like. The old-style Enslaved still pops up here and there, unexpectedly, though the album is almost Pink Floyd-ish at times (nothing new there, they’ve been down that path before). You get a mix of black metal vocals and clean vocals, which again is something they’ve been doing for a while now. The clean vocals on some of the more extreme tracks sometimes feel out of place, but it’s not like they’re cringeworthy.

I was all set to give the album a 3 or 3.25 at most, but I’ve found that, when in the right mood, this mix of black metal and much tamer progressive metal—that one might liken to Opeth before they really sucked—can be just what you need. I find it’s a good soundtrack for relaxing. It’s definitely not one of my Enslaved go-to albums, but sometimes it’s just what I need.

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