Sometimes this album is so beautiful it hurts. The melodic breaks, the interplay between Herbrand Larsen‘s and Grutle Kjellson‘s vocals, the keyboard flourishes, the pounding heaviness of it. I know there are a couple really amazing progressive black metal bands out there — Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord come to mind — but for me, nothing tops Enslaved, and Axioma Ethica Odini might be the bravest album they’ve made in their 20-year career.
You could sit for a week and parse every second and still not manage to capture it. I remember the first time I listened, I was just so happy it didn’t follow a similar production course to that of 2008′s Vertebrae, but it wasn’t until I really dug into Axioma Ethica Odini that the scope of the thing became clear. The first half of the record is your pretty typical Enslaved material — still better than, oh, everything else in its genre — but Side B’s prog overload really pushed Axioma Ethica Odini into the upper echelon of 2010 releases for me. It’s another one of those albums I just can’t seem to leave home.
Even listening to it now to write this, I’m distracted by the fucking brilliance of the album (among other things). The chorus of “Lightening” gives me a chill up my spine every time, and even a song like “Singular,” which I didn’t fully appreciate when I reviewed the record, has grown on me to the point where I’ll put Axioma Ethica Odini away for a day or so, then stop and say to myself, “Why the hell am I not listening to Enslaved?” And you know what the answer is? The answer is I put on Enslaved. Constantly.
Tags: Enslaved, Norway, Nuclear Blast, Top 20 of 2010