Nah. Me either, but I’m told by those who have that it’s one of the finest ways to get away from the everyday life of shuffling papers and dealing with ugly people. An activity where you leave civilization behind and commune with nature. Solitude. And, if you don’t catch anything? So what. At the very least, you’ve downed a few beers and you’ve found a few moments of peace. I find Enslaved’s Below the Lights to be very much like ice fishing. Not that I find myself listening to it in a wooden box in the middle of a frozen lake. But, I do like the idea of shelving those nagging responsibilities for an hour or so. Below the Lights (and ice fishing) is not for everyone, but for those who enjoy that type of thing, it’s a brief moment in time where we can get back to our natural selves and get lost in the beauty hidden by that which is misunderstood.
Lead guitarist, Arve Isdal, is the unsung hero of this band in that he provides moments of true beauty and brightness to an album that dips a toe in some of the darkest music that this reviewer has ever heard. His lead work is stellar on the second track, “The Dead Stare” . . . in fact, the whole band performs brilliantly on what I can only describe as a progressive black metal tune. The break midway through the song is as epic as they get . . . drifting seamlessly from a full on aural onslaught into the aforementioned guitar solo, then into a killer palm muted break that builds in intensity before dropping back down again. And from there . . . into yet another killer driving riff with spacey keyboard textures applied to give the tune that much more color. Absolutely genius! I challenge you, Waveriders. Walk through the darkness and see the light of this work!
“Havenless” begins with what I can only assume is a native Norwegian chant over another great off time riff. Regardless of the language, the power is convincing. The song has a groove to it unlike the rest but is no less savage. In some ways, it may be more so. Very tribal. Very primal. Another great reflection of Enslaved’s environment and my personal favorite from the disc.
Buy here: Below the Lights