Enslaved - Utgard (2020)


As one of the most awaited releases of 2020, today we have Norwegian Vikings Enslaved and their latest musical opus: “Utgard”. Continuing their musical evolution into more textured and proggy territories, this release delivers over 45 minutes of captivating music that perfectly blends their signature heavier onslaughts with their more delicate and intricate experimental constructs. If you have enjoyed everything the band has put out since “Axioma Ethica Odini”, this release continues this awesome transformation.

With a very mystical opening, “Fires In The Dark” delivers the band’s signature interplay of guitars alongside a combination of multiple vocal styles, creating a very lush and expansive melodic sound. Grutle’s signature snarl, nicely blends with the clean counter parts of Håkon Vinje and Iver Sandøy, particularly on tracks like “Jettegryta” where the heavier passages lead way to crafty and elegant melodic and proggy interludes. Other songs deliver the band’s traditional catchiness like the melancholic “Sequence”, which combines some funktastic bass lines alongside generous atmospheric elements.

One of our favorite tracks has to be the explosive “Homebound” and its excellent guitar work, including some pretty epic guitar leads from Ice Dale. The mood in the album nicely changes with the enigmatic atmospheric title track and it completely goes bonkers with the crafty electronics of “Urjotun”. This last piece is quite interesting as you can instantly hear the band’s signature sound alongside additional funkiness. For those looking for heavier and more dramatic pieces, “Flight Of Thought And Memory” and “Storms Of Utgard” are two very intense and yet expertly crafted songs filled with surprises.

Closing with the stylish “Distant Seasons”, we get a very interesting proggy/old-school vibe with its lush vocal arrangements and overall tempo. As a whole, “Utgard” is one hell of an excellent and well polished release by Enslaved. Constantly pushing their sound to new directions, the band manages to surprise their fans with a mixture of their staples and tons of exciting new elements to discover. This album is definitely one of the top 10 releases of 2020.

Band: Enslaved Album: Utgard

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Release: October 2nd, 2020

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Genre: Progressive Black/Viking Metal

Country: Norway

Rating: 95/100

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