There are only two years passed by the last full length of Enslaved. The very good “Axioma Ethica Odini” kept me company these two years. We had a couple releases of EPs that give the hint for the upcoming release. “The Sleeping Gods” and “Thorn” was like a taste of what will come next. And then today in 2012 “RIITIIR” is here and it’s here to stay.

For the start I must say that Enslaved is out there playing extreme metal music for more than 20 years and they do it excellent. Since their first black metal albums until their last era of progressive Viking metal as everyone labeled them what they do is a piece of art. There are many die-hard fans of black metal that grouching for the last 6 albums over the past 10 years and they will do it again for this one. If you are a follower of this opinion, you should keep away from this one too.

For all the others please be my guest and enjoy what Enslaved have to offer you. Now please do let me introduce to the music of “RIITIIR” and tell you about it. Yes there is no returning to the “pure” black meal roots of Enslaved. And yes they still play beautiful music as true artists. From the start with “Thoughts Like Hammer” till the end of this album my hair was raised until the very last second of “Forsaken”. Every note and every word on this CD is binding all together perfectly. I loved all of the releases of Enslaved, but this one has everything.

The vocals, since Herbrand Larsen came in, have completely changed. The clean singing parts made their way in album after album and lately they have the first role. No, do not be confused, the trademarks screams of Mr. Kjellson is still present and they do not have secondary role at all. These two seem to collaborate magnificent.

On the guitar work for once again Ivar Bjørnson and Arve Isdal (a.k.a. Ice Dale) have done an excellent job. Both composing and executing the guitar parts is simply excellent. There are even some acoustic parts which sound fantastic, especially on “Death In The Eyes Of Dawn” and on “Storm Of Memories”.

The drumming of Cato Bekkevold is firm and stable when it must and progressive enough when the orchestration demands it. Every single beat is just in the right time and keeps up the atmosphere of the whole CD. This can be witnessed on “Veilburner”. The whole feeling of the drums is rock at its best. The outbreaks are few yet not absent.

The production is another point that must be marked. It is perfect for any rock album. And to not be misunderstood, this production is outstanding for Enslaved, for their extreme ways and for their prog rock influences. All the instruments are right in place and in time. You can hear them all loud and clear and the atmosphere that is created is responsible all the effects, the keyboards and the whole orchestration. The bass guitar, as you would remember, was not listenable on most of the last releases. In “RIITIIR” it is here and Grutle Kjellson blows it on our faces with his excellent bass lines. There isn’t a single song that stands out and must refer to as the best one. It would be shame for all the others.

There isn’t many more to be said for this masterpiece of music. In my opinion “RIITIIR” is an album that at the future we would refer to as a classic monument in music. You can listen to each and every one track separately to see what I mean, and yet you would die to listen to the whole album. “RIITIIR” is a living entity and any metal and rock fan, I believe, should love it.

Track List Line Up
01. Thoughts Like Hammer
02. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn
03. Veilburner
04. Roots Of The Mountain
05. Riitiit
06. Materal
07. Storm Of Memories
08. Forsaken
Grutle Kjellson – Vocals, Bass, Effects
Ivar Bjørnson – Guitars, Vocals, Effects, Synthesizers
Cato Bekkevold – Drums
Herbrand Larsen – Vocals, Organ, Keyboards
Arve Isdal – Guitars (Lead)