Let's get to business: the tracks are made to represent what the word "majestic" was coined to do for, or maybe they made the tracks and then the word "majesty" and its variations came by, and it's just an illusion of ours that the word existed, at all, before this record was made.
I feel it's more mellow than the previous Enslaved albums. I pity the fool that say that Isa is a bad album (ok, alright, it's NOT as good as the three before that, specially before BELOW THE LIGHTS which is a god amongst albums). "As fire swept clean the earth" should be elected as the new national anthem of Norway, and we should use it's lyrics to reflect on the evil of the world and how it should be punished and vaporized before the powers of this Viking Metal act.
The distortion is not that brutal and the guitars are quite clean. The beautiful King Crimson like parts are there, it's basically a very good progressive album with brutal vocals. I am sure Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, the whole of ELOY and Robert Fripp could listen to and enjoy this music, although Fripp would boast about how he could play faster than the guitarists. Maybe he could do the solos faster, but not the (killer) metal riffs. I am sure that if someone gives REIGN IN BLOOD or VICTIMS OF A BOMB RAID to Fripp he won't be able to play it correctly.
I doubt this man can play one song from that record.
I know that non-versed-in-Enslaved mortals cringe when they see the words "progressive" and "metal" put together, that brings to their minds albums by pretentious bands with photos of band members who use Pantene Pro V shampoo and conditioning with leaf extracts on the inner sleeve of their records, and maybe covers with laughing jesters and a gigantic chessboard floating in space, which probably translates as "look, we are wild and experimental, we don't fear going into technical prowess show off territory!" and usually is about sub Dream Theater metal like bands, in other words, musical Camembert and Gorgonzola.
No, No, and once more, I will write it: No. This is not the case. Here we have a band that is as testosterone fulled as RAMBO IV. This album is beautiful and sweet, but also heavy and powerful. It is a homage to heterosexuality, but with sentiment, with love in it's dark, black heart.
The whole record can be summarized in the image of John Rambo pausing the slaughtering of hundreds of evil vietcongs, using his M60 General Purpose Machine gun to send the 'congs straight to Buddhas's lap, to pick up a beautiful flower in a southeast asian forest. A moment of bliss and poetic beauty amongst pure fucking carnageddon. I just love it when metal musicians combine both things. I remember some dork saying that Isis makes him feel "more human" in the comments of Isis's singer's blog.
Well, this record makes me feel like I am a galaxy at peace with the cosmos and at the same time I have a carving serrated knife and I will fucking rip to shreds posers who listen to Isis and try to intellectualize music that was created to worship Satan and drink beer to, and offer their dripping, warm guts to the members of Enslaved.
I think you get the picture. It's way better than Isa, also more melodic, loads of clean vocals and 70s progressive moments. Rides through the Andromeda in a horse made of fire with a sword in one hand and wine in the other are powerful images that come to my mind whilst listening to this modern classic.
Maybe a joint in one hand, or a jester puppet, or a chessboard instead of the sword, but I think you get the picture.
Overall, best metal record of the year (I haven't listened to any other metal records of this year, or of the last several years, I'm tired of any metal made in 00, except Genghis Tron, Vader and Enslaved and Morbid Angel, honestly) and best record of the year period.
Radiohead only wished they had the power of Enslaved to create music which is fucking devastating and takes over and shows who's the boss and who takes things forward. Listening to this album is better than reading "The Dark Tower", or than having lunch while watching "Everybody Hates Chris". Or than reading "The Dark Tower" while having lunch with "Everybody Hates Chris" playing on the background. Metallic textures and progressive black metal.
The best tracks are, in this order, TO THE COAST and REFLECTION. If you disagree you are wrong and doomed to be in the incorrect path for all eternity. I pity you, lost soul in a forest of darkness. Go listen to some old Riistetyt. It's the first step towards light.