Category: Audio Published on Thursday, 26 February 2009 00:00 Written by Graham Mills Hits: 88810 To begin with, this would have to be my front runner for album of the year so far. Admittedly, I haven't heard the new Graveland and a couple of other albums I've had the misfortune to so far miss, but from what I have had the pleasure of hearing, this is the forerunner. The first thing that struck me about 'Below the Lights' is the emotion, from the very first mellotron sounds of opening track 'As Fire Swept Clean the Earth'. This song, is fucking miraculous. Call me a softy, but I'm nearly brought to tears. While avoiding as much hyperbole as possible, this is the best Enslaved song I've ever heard, knocking even the mighty '793- The Battle of Lindisfarne' from Eld over. This isn't so much viking metal as emotional metal with a very subtle black edge and is best heard in a quiet mood in a quiet room where you can sit back and remember.... If you're expecting an episode of viking rage and black metal theatrics, then you'll be disappointed. 'Below the Lights' is going places I don't think I've heard any black metal album go before, and it's brilliant. Track 3, the epic 'The Crossing' travels from acoustic guitar to metal cruch, while 'Queen of the Night' literally begins with a 70's prog rock riff not dissimilar to Camel. Postone your concern, for it quickly launches into a savage metal riff designed to assuaged the hardcore. There is plenty of clean vocals here, although Grutle hasn't left his growl behind. Sound effects and keyboards are used well also, in a proggish sense, developing a special kind of atmosphere. Produced by Pytten in Grieghallen, an interesting side-note is that Dirge Rep, the drummer, quit on the final day of recording. One can only conjecture as to the emotions running through his mind as he records these tracks. As you can tell, I'm truly stunned with this album, because it's something I never thought Enslaved could produce. Worth purchasing for 'As Fire Swept Clean the Earth' alone, this album is the work of true artists, with a true and unique vision.