Enslaved shouldn’t need too much introduction to anyone with a little knowledge of Heavy Metal. The band formed in 1991 and 30 years later are still going strong. During their 3 decades together the band have released 15 albums, their first, Vikingligr Veldi in 1994, and their last album, Uygard, came out last year and was very favourably reviewed in these pages and elsewhere. Initially Enslaved played a very savage and harsh style of Black Metal before slowly modifying their sound to become one of the best Progressive Metal bands currently active.
Caravans To The Outer Worlds opens with just Bass before Keyboards are added, the song then drops into fairly aggressive Progressive Metal that is nicely uptempo and driving, the song has a mix of harsh and clean vocals, the occasional Blast Beat and 2 very fast and aggressive Guitar solos. It’s Enslaved’s Prog Metal sound but aggressive and purposeful, until the end which is quieter and brooding.
Intermezzo I - Lonnlig. Gudlig is slow and very heavy, it sounds like Enslaved, but, like the title track it’s a little bit more vexed than the band have been for a while.
Caravans To The Outer Worlds is a great piece of Progressive Metal. The tracks work very well together and the flow of material is fantastic. Although as an EP the lack of length means this doesn’t have the dramatic sweep of the bands last album, but this material clearly isn’t meant to have that kind of sense to it, the band knew this material was slightly different to their usual material, which is why it’s been put out as an Ep. This is an essential addition to any Enslaved fans collection. 8/10
With varying sounds and styles the album does lack a bit of cohesiveness but the music on offer is very enjoyable even if the jumps in styles between tracks can be a bit jarring at times. This is an album that peels away its layers with each consecutive listen and is definitely a listen that demands your attention. This is an album that will appeal to fans of progressive music as well as those who like their music drowning in darkness. 7/10
Enquire Within – Rebirth (Metal Rocka Records) [Paul Hutchings]
The follow up to their debut Bloodlines, Rebirth sees the London based quartet bringing the modern metal once more and it’s a ferocious combination of thrashy melodic metal combined with irresistible groove. From what I understand, Rebirth is the story of a man who finds himself amid a war-torn conflict, carrying out acts of evil and racked with remorse questioned the lies he was told when he signed up. The album follows his journey through mental health chaos, his questioning of why he found killing and combat enjoyable and the balance between that and the terrifying realisation that suicide may be the only solution. Ultimately, our man loses control and embarks on another maniacal journey which he needs to feed his bloodlust.
Sepulchre By The Sea – Ratiocination (Self Released) [Zak Skane]
Sepulchre by the Sea are a one man Atmospheric Black Metal band from Bristol that has formed over the duration of lockdown. The project takes lyrical influences from artist like Edgar Allan Poe. Their opening track Ghost Of The Departed starts off with this well recorded low rumbling soundscape before it comes in with cinematic glockenspiel produced melodies. Once we are greeted by this cinematic soundscapes band hits us in the face with some Insomnium inspired melancholy riffs. Throughout the track the band keep it interesting by adding additional ambient guitar sections to keep the listeners attention.