If a band has ever played what might be classifiable as melancholy black metal, then it is Enslaved who are that band. The vocals have the snarling Tasmanian Devil black-metal quality fans of the genre enjoy, but meanwhile the guitars cut a forlorn path through the overall dark landscape constructed by the music. The keyboards add to the soporific effect of the music. It’s odd to feel lethargy oozing from aggressively mad vocals, blasting drums and uber-heavy guitars, but nevertheless that’s what the band manages to pull off.
They create a mood that could go hand in hand with a bubble bath, scented candles and where normally an Enya or the “New Age Loon” CD would be playing is Enslaved’s “Below the Lights.” The music relaxes and lulls the listener whilst simultaneously bludgeoning and punishing. It’s like a hardcore massage (No, I don’t mean manual release) in which the masseuse beats the fuck out of your back, in which the little China girl jumps on your bones, in which you hear the cracking and feel the wind getting knocked out of you, but also feel the tension slipping away and all life’s myriad aggravations melting from your marrow. Through an aggravated assault your aggravations are eased. Enslaved is also kind of dull.