November 2004 Archives

puter troubles have been plaguing me - reducing my productivity and generally bugging the hell out of me.

put simply I am a geek and I really prefer to be able to diagnose and fix my own problems

These issues are with my reasonably new laptop. It has been crashing far too regularly. I always suspected RAM but also had some thoughts about a bad motherboard.

Right now I am operating with 50% of my normally installed RAM. Have managed to write this and will leave it to run some hefty tasks overnight to ascertain stability if this is the case, then a call to Apple to replace the very much under warranty RAM is in order.

One question about the new enslaved album has been resolved.

The title - is the runic character ISA, also symbolising ice. The modern norse for Ice has become the simplified Is

This theme of Ice is definitely reflected in the production style.

This also makes the album a deliberate counterpoint to the release many consider their best. Eld (Norse for Fire) which was released in 1997

Enslaved ISA part 3

By far the standout track is Return to Yggdrasil, it smacks of "The Crossing" (frequent time signature changes. layered acoustic and distorted guitar harmonics) in places. Yet the Yggdrasil reference brings the raw sound back from their early period classic album Frost. Return... is fast becoming one of my personal favourites from the genre.

I also enjoy the opening track Lunar Force, but it has a bit too much of a tendency to meander for my tastes. I do, however love the filtered keys about two thirds of the way thru the track that sound very similar to the trademark circular saw guitar sound so favoured by early black metal acts.

first impressions of Enslaved's ISA

listen #1 disappointed in general, the warmth and more exuberant aspects of Below the Lights are absent
listen #2 enjoy some tracks, particularly the middle order
listen #3 really start to get the feel of the album (which is less bleak than I originally thought) and enjoying the rhythm section much more.

in short this is quite a change from Below the Lights, but when viewed against the entire Enslaved catalogue the album makes more sense.

The death growls are less obvious, with a return to more blackened screams
keys are still 70s influenced but the warm prog styled backing keys are supplanted by much more subtly mixed keyboard work
Unlike the last few albums, there is no sign of the more experimental chanting that was distinctly Viking. This is extremely disappointing as Enslaved were the only band I've ever heard who manage to elevate this style rather than devolve into generic Germanic beer hall madness.

In a good move for a band that is into it's second decade, the songs on ISA draw equally from the band's impressively diverse past releases.

I'm not sold on the production though, they seem to be striving for a more harsh and bleak production than below the lights. It seems that the intent is to sound close to how they sound live... Live it is the intensity of the performance that wins me over, on record I want to hear the intricacies of their quite overwhelming song-smith talent.

Regardless, let me give this release some more time and many more brutal listens. It may yet become as indispensable as Below the Lights (played 260 times in 18 months!).

But please someone - lyrics and what the hell does ISA mean? my Norwegian friends say it's not a formal Norse word.

I realise I have focused too much on what is absent from this album. The positive side is that the reigning in of the more flamboyent elements has created a more solidly focused release than the prior three albums. The clean vocals have taken on some chant-like elements so this aspect is not completely gone.

Drumming wise, cato who debuts on this album performs solidly, although he does shy away from the jazz inspired fills and phrases of some of his predecessors his blast phrases and cymbal fills are creative and definitely not run of the mill.

Grutles vocals are as solid as before although I'm not convinced his clean vox are at all improved. Bass-wise he continues to impress with his long established style that melds rhythm section with harmonic quasi-leads yet never succumbs to posturing solos.

One of my favourite bands, who I happened to see twice on my trip overseas has just released a new album.

Enslaved have holed themselves up in studio grieghallen yet again and look to have produce another sterling album.

Considering that their prior release - 2003's Below the Lights was album of the year for me, I have high hopes for their new opus - ISA.

Reviews are very positive with the ratings all in the top 25% of the scale. Some like this one can't heap enough praise on this new release with references to Neurosis, Isis and Opeth all acts who have honed metal in new and exciting directions.

Departing from the once great Osmose records for the relative unknown label Tabu looks to be a good thing for the band, but one hopes that the label has decent distribution arrangements outside of Europe. Otherwise, as with most underground European releases, I doubt this one will get an oz release any time soon, so unless I want to wait till 2005, I will be looking at importing this release myself, post haste.

back from a short trip north, flew to Ballina and stayed in Byron before driving up to Brisvegas and flying back from there.

Astrid loved byron, I adored the hinterland - as I remember a byron where the food did not resemble sydney cafe fare and one could get a decent tofu burger within stumbling distance from the main roundabout.

Discovered a lovely pizza place that did spelt and buckwheat bases, also realised that my prior favourite (in lennox head) had ditched the semi - whole meal base that was so divine five years back.

The sunshine state lacked sunshine and instead showcased some impressive storms but was fun regardless.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2004 is the previous archive.

December 2004 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.01