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An album by Enslaved

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"looking for reason in the bottomless abyss."

  • Jan 24, 2010
I can no longer count the number of masterpieces in Enslaved's voluminous output. _Vertebrae_ may or may not be this band's finest work, but in either case it is a soul-stirring journey through a band unique vision of metal. As much as each album changes in subtle ways, the "Enslaved sound" that has been tempered since the stylistic shift of _Mardraum_ is still there and powerful as ever. It works the same way with other metal bands that are REALLY special, like the Opeth sound, the Meshuggah sound, etc. As a reference point, I'd say this is like the sonic explorations of _Monumension_ (many albums ago) with the tighter metal of _Ruun_, the previous disc. The heaviness is perhaps...softened?... because the purpose seems not to rock hard so much as elevate through ingenius riffs and machine-guns drums and fastidiously placed sound effects and synthesizers to something between simple Floydian trippiness and profound mystical experience. And even so, it remains awesome exciting from a metal standpoint as well, so the "softening" is only relative. How many metal bands can accomplish all that at once? There probably isn't a single metal band with so much darn great productivity.

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Clayton Reeder ()
Ranked #434
Rogue capitalist in search of all that is interesting, weird, or beautiful.      Collected here are my hundreds of reviews from Amazon.com, covering mostly music that is offensive … more
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Recorded in the first quarter of 2008, mixed by Evil Joe Barresi (Tool, Queens of the Stone Age), mastered by the legendary George Marino (Metallica, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin) at Sterling Sound, Vertebrae was produced by band members Ivar Bjørnson, Herbrand Larsen, and Grutle Kjellson themselves.

Considered by all band members to be their strongest album in the seventeen years of their existence, Vertebrae's sound, songs, seasoned guitar tone and time-travelling solos and overall atmosphere marks a crowning achievement for the band and the genre as a whole.

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Label: Nuclear Blast Americ
Artist: Enslaved
Release Date: October 28, 2008

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