With each release, I get more excited to see what Enslaved will do next. I’ve liked each album more than the last. Considering I love each album, it’s quite amazing that the band can still top themselves. “RIITIIR” was a masterpiece so “In Times” had a lot to live up to. I am pleased to say that “In Times” is every bit the masterpiece that “RIITIIR” is but it is by no means a copy of that album.
Sure, Enslaved always sound like Enslaved but when a band is as iconic as they are, you can’t completely lose your sound. The band always seems to tweak the formula ever so slightly so that each album is unique to itself. “In Times” takes the progress made melodically by “RIITIIR” and throws in a dash of “Vertebrae” to be an album that expands each key element that the band is known for. There’s the brutal black metal attack of “Thurisaz Dreaming,” which opens the album. It still has plenty of melody though.
Nowhere is melody more important than the track “Building With Fire” which has a catchy riff that starts the song and a chorus, though sung with harsh vocals, that is instantly memorable. The band is still as epic as ever also, as the title track proves. The song has the brutality and melody of course but there is a mellow section in the middle along with a massive outro. The closing track “Daylight” starts with one of the best riffs Ivar has ever written – big, slow and heavy. The songs all of the aforementioned elements: brutality, melody and even a mellow section 3 plus minutes in.
Some people might expect Enslaved to somehow reinvent themselves the way that Opeth has done. Others might pine for the black metal days of their youth. Ivar has even said that they never considered themselves a black metal band. For me, Enslaved are their own beast. Progressive, heavy, melodic and most of all talented. “In Times” shows that they are as strong as ever and still a force to be reckoned with. This is one of the best albums of 2015 and one of the best metal albums of the last decade.