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Vertebrae album cover
To The Coast
New Dawn
The Watcher
Album Information

Total Tracks: 8   Total Length: 49:07

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Wondering Sound

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Elisabeth Vincentelli has written for publications as diverse as Entertainment Weekly and the Wire. She is the author of the books Abba Gold and Abba Treasures,...more »

Enslaved, Vertebrae
2008 | Label: Nuclear Blast / The Orchard

Since 1991, Norway's Enslaved have evolved into one of the most thrilling bands to still bubble under the mainstream radar. This relative anonymity has everything to do with the fact that Enslaved play metal: If a group as inventive, inquisitive, sophisticated and just plain ambitious toiled in the indie, country or hip-hop trenches, it'd be the on the cover of Rolling Stone, not British extreme-music mag Terrorizer.

Coming on the heels of 2004's Isa and… read more »

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Very original


I'm not too familiar with this bands past work, but this album is very inventive and original, very well written songs. Definitely worth downloading.

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Very similar to Isis with a little more vocals. If you like Isis this is for you. I like "The Center" and "Ground"

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nice surprise


Enslaved opened up for Opeth when they last came through Portland and I made the mistake of listening to a few tracks off of Frost (through Rhapsody) and writing them off as just some black metal noise band. But Vertebrae is great, and now I'm kicking myself for not getting to the show early enough to see them. It reminds me of some sort of mix of Voivod and 311 plus some growling vocals. Original and catchy, and definitely worth the download!

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Absolutely ridiculous.


This record is the album that every friend of mine who doesn't like extreme metal likes. It's just ridiculously good. TONS of stylistic changes with enough parts that show their extreme metal roots keep one foot firmly planted in their roots while the other kicks up some dust. Outstanding. amazing. Download it immediately.

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They Say All Music Guide

Vertebrae offers further proof that Enslaved have found their groove as a post-black metal proposition: content to carry on testing the boundaries of their relatively exclusive and self-ordained domain, where progressive and psychedelic influences find unlikely sympathy with the extreme musical foundations of yesteryear (which, to the group’s immense credit, have not been summarily abandoned). However, at first it seems that Vertebrae will be something of a stylistic holding pattern in relation to acclaimed predecessors Ruun and Isa (even retaining the same exact lineup, for a change), before eventually revealing itself, over prolonged exposure, to indulge in just as much experimentation. In broad terms, this means that the recurring dynamic contrasts between sheer violence and exquisite splendor still account for most of the thrills delivered by these multifaceted and frequently unpredictable songs. But, more specifically, those experiments yield numerous creative breakthroughs, such as the flashes of Pink Floyd worship on “Ground,” the jazz-inflected solos found in “Reflection,” and the art rock minimalism (à la Tool) heard on “Center,” to name but a few. Meanwhile, Vertebrae probably contains an even higher percentage of — and greater comfort with — clean vocals on the part of frontman Grutle Kjellson, whose voice is often layered to dense harmonies with those of his bandmates, to wonderful effect. Moreover, Kjellson’s lyrical collaborations with the group’s guitarist and primary songwriter, Ivar Bjørnson, frequently achieve unprecedented heights of inspiration and clarity on tracks like “Clouds,” “Reflection” (again), and the surprisingly optimistic “New Dawn,” where existential philosophy and blood-drenched mythology commingle as effortlessly as the aforementioned musical elements (i.e., Viking metal purists will not feel shortchanged). And for all of these reasons, Enslaved continue to represent the absolute evolutionary cutting edge of extreme metal, delivering in Vertebrae yet another spectacle of imagination and quality control, matched only by Sweden’s equally consistent Opeth. – Eduardo Rivadavia

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