ENSLAVED - Thorn (SOULSELLER - 7"EP 2012)
In 2011 Enslaved – the mighty gods of progressive, extreme metal from Norway – released a couple of EPs, which I must say I would never expect from such high profile band like them. I mean I didn’t know that first league bands still bother about something like EPs, you know? And while “The Sleeping Gods” is just damn impossible to get (some vinyl copies circulate, but the prices are already ridiculously high) I really wanted to get “Thorn” 7”EP. And that’s not because I’m the biggest Enslaved fan ever, but I just do like this band a lot, I collect all their albums and always on vinyl (yet I can’t wait for that awesome debut “Vikingligr Veldi” to be finally released on LP), so by now I have quite a big collection of their releases, all in the first pressings, which I am even more proud of. So, while I don’t listen to their last albums as often as those early ones, I still like them and that’s why I just really wanted to get “Thorn”. This 7”EP contains a couple of exclusive tracks: “Disintegrator” and “Striker” and has been released by Soulseller in a limited quantity of 1000 copies.
I must say that musically Enslaved sounds a bit harsher and more sort of simple on “Thorn” when comparing it to their recent albums. While they still maintain that progressive side of their music, the whole stuff sounds quite like an atmospheric, epic black metal to my ears, but played in quite simplistic, almost primitive way. Take “Disintegrator” for that matter and notice the slowly developing atmosphere in it, all built on basically one motif, where the guitar riff is accompanied by the dreamy keyboard, the whole played in rather slow tempo, what instantly creates that cold, disturbing atmosphere… I wouldn’t go as far as some other reviewers, claiming that with this song Enslaved went back to the roots of the Norwegian black metal (some even mention Burzum??!!), but surely some traces of it are here, but mixed with a lot of progressive or psychedelic rock from the 70’s. “Striker” is pretty much similar, again the tempo is quite slow, but it is even more based on strong keyboard which basically leads the whole music, with almost unhearable guitar riff and accompanied by loud, harsh scream of Grutle… I think I may like this song less than “Disintegrator”, but you know what? After I’ve listened to “Thorn” several times I still feel like I am not 100% convinced and not too enthusiastic about the content of this EP. Sure, a certain quality is there, but somehow both songs are not as thrilling as the stuff from the full length albums – from whichever period of the band’s existence, as I really think they’ve never done a bad album. And when I’ve heard some opinions that Enslaved went into a small reunion with their more black metal past I actually hoped for something what would resemble me “Hordanes Land”, “Frost” or “Eld”. Meanwhile, I’m listening to “Thorn” and I cannot decide between admitting that both songs are OK and solid (even despite how the whole thing has been produced, with the keyboards putted in the front and guitars / bass sometimes almost absent) or this short material is just really fuckin boring. I’m afraid that more and more I listen to it, more I think it’s the latter.
Final rate: 67/100