Review by Chop
“Hang on Chop – hasn’t this one been out for a while now?” It’s a fair cop. Having at last had the chance to finally give this album the attention it deserves here’s the verdict – if you don’t own it already make it the next album you buy. And then play it continually for as long as you see fit. If you appreciate more intricate works you’ll no doubt be grinning for many a moon to come…
Those fortunate enough to have witnessed Enslaved live recently will know what a ridiculously good bunch of musicians they are. Listening to ‘Riitiir’ constantly sends shivers down the spine as you imagine just how good this material will be in a gig setting. Hammerfest V seems a long way away!
From the opening feedback and dissonance right through to the subdued piano outro well over an hour later, ‘Riitiir’ is a breathtaking example of how far the boundaries of extreme rock can be pushed. There’s more going on in the opening thirty seconds alone – including one of the best riffs unleashed this year – than many bands achieve in a career. Dismiss this as a cliché if you like, but it’s heartfelt. Fusing old school and modern prog with elements of black metal, folk, classic rock, and even space rock, should be a disaster, but this flows so smoothly you’re just left open-mouthed as you prepare for the next Blackadder-esque ‘twist and turn like a twisty-turny thing’ moment. When albums are this good ‘stunning’ sells them woefully short.
Picking out individual tracks for praise is utterly pointless such is the standard of composition on offer. Personally, and somewhat oddly, the title track is the weak link, perhaps because of its relative brevity, or the fact that it doesn’t really reflect the mood of the rest of the album. Nit picking, but that’s my only criticism. Lengthy songs, faultlessly performed, and impeccably produced – what more could you want?
As we approach the end of 2012 the inevitable best of lists are about to appear and ‘Riitiir’ will be close to, if not actually at, the pinnacle of many. Deservedly so too. It’s an exceptional piece of work that all open minded rock fans need to hear. Yes – it is that good. So good that I’m off to play it again. And again…
9 out of 10
Riitiir is out now on Nuclear Blast Records
Thoughts Like Hammers
Death In the Eyes Of Dawn
Roots OF The Mountain
Storm Of Memories