Monumension is the 2000 release of Norway's metal masters Enslaved. Enslaved, for those who don't know was formed way back in the early 90's. To give you a clue, their first release was also Emperor's, on a split ep. Yet how far have they both progressed. Emperor became a speed freaks dream, creating complex death metal inspired black metal. While Enslaved have gone to another realm, still totaly Viking Metal, yet not really like their early releases. Now it is the spirit of the pagan gods in the music, even though the music itself is not outwardly Viking Metal. It's hard to explain, you just have to hear. The cd comes with a guide to their runes and a ritual to bring about the Natural spirit or something like that. I have been known to call them Black Metal's Sigur Ros. Very impressive.
"Convoys to Nothingness" begins the cd on a trippy yet very hard note. This song really is where I draw some of my Sigur Ros comparisions. It has alot of the delay driven guitar sounds like that of those crazy Icelanders, however they would never be as dark or metal as Enslaved. This is a great beginning to the record, a kind of Occult call to arms, but it is also very left-field for metal.
After a very atmospheric ending to the last song we suddenly have the heavy song "The Voices" where you can really hear that they were once a traditional metal band. It's another great track. "Vision: Sphere of the Elements - A Monument Part II" is the closest to Emperor's last few records Enslaved ever get on here. It is also probably the most traditional metal song on here. However it has that edge of Pagan visions and occult knowings that gives this whole cd a character. To my ears it seems to be about stones like the Rokstone in Sweden; monuments to great men, to wisdom, etc. I'm not totally sure about this reading though.
"Hollow Inside" really could be a Sigur Ros or Post-Rock song, and it's a good rest from the very heavy songs we've just heard. It's a quieter droneing song, and we are lulled in by its sound. However it slowly rises throughout, without ever getting very loud or metal. It is one of my favorite songs on here.
"The Cromlech Gate" starts out very much like a doom song. At first it really sounds like Christian Death, I'm serious it really does. Then it gets really metal, then back to Christian Death. I like this song alot for it's interesting feeling. It feels like a call through to the beyond to open a gate to another realm, or something like that.
"Enemy I" is probably the most traditional black metal song on here. It is very fast, with the kind of screeches that exist in black metal, and the ominous intoneing about something tre occult. I like this song though, because even at their most traditional Enslaved still sound like Enslaved and find all kinds of interesting things to do with in the song.
"Smirir" is another black metal sounding song, and one of my favorites. It's probably the simplest song on here, but that doesn't make it bad at all. I like the middle part with clean vocals alot, it's very cool sounding.
Another long titled song with "The Sleep: Floating Diversity - A Monument Part III", which begins sounding alot like a Danzig song circa How the Gods Kill. I really like this song too, for it really breaks out of the mold, while still being very heavy. A great song.
Finally we have the "Outro: Self - Zero", which is a distored almost industrial sounding song. It's interesting for sure. But the cd isn't over yet, for my copy (and most copies) has a song from the side-project HOV called "Sigmundskvadet", which is in Old Norse, and is much closer to where Enslaved started out. I like this alot, and I find it interesting to note that Sigur Ros did a performance of this very piece of text. The text itself is a classic, and this folk metal piece is really good.
There you have it, 10 tracks of brilliance. Enslaved are one of the most original black metal bands I have heard. Their combination of Occult and Viking subjects is very interesting, and this whole thing feels like a giant spell. I highly suggest this to anyone who is a fan of Black metal, viking metal, or well, metal in general. A great release.
1: Convoys to Nothingness
2: The Voices
3: Vision: Sphere of the Elements - A Monument Part II
4: Hollow Inside
5: The Cromlech Gate
6: Enemy I
8: The Sleep: Floating Diversity - A Monument Part III
9: Outro: Self - Zero