While I liked the band's last album, but found them much more fascinating of a creature on stage when I saw them open for Watain, so I am hoping some of those more progressive and wandering qualities have carried over from the road and right from the first few chords of the opener it seems like they have. There is an almost Opeth like lushness to the sound. They don't use the traditional metal crunch, instead just going for an organic tone that they are playing loudly. The vocals are more intelligible. The guitar work continues to impress on this one. They entrench the songs with dark melodies. Enslaved comparison are sure to abound here as well, but there is some more sinister lurking under the surface, where Enslaved sails their prog power long boats into Norse lore. They do hit a similar vibe to Enslaved when the pace picks up on " Melancholia" as the guitars have the brighter epic metal tone.
This journey they take you on is painted in a wide spectrum of guitar tones. The band very much has a sound that they have embraced and this doesn't stray to far from that they are just painting it with different colors. Some of these are more trippy than others. The drums and vocals take the most traditional metal roles allowing the guitars to venture out into the fringes. This is not to say they do not have bite to them, as a song like "Winds" finds a balance of attack and sonic wonderment. Some of the punches are in a more Iron Maiden vein of metal than death metal. Aside from the rasp of the vocals you would not think of this album as being death metal, even in the most progressive sense of the genre. The bass player makes some interesting choices as he ventures higher up the neck. This traditional NWOBHM approach returns on the melodic "the Motherhood of God". The vocal rasp has much more in common with black metal than death metal here.
The first really dense metal tone is when "Sjalaflykt" kicks in. It doesn't take long before the song is bathed in atmosphere. The expand and contract nature of the arrangements gives ample room for them to play around with. These guys do this without boring you with 10 to 15 minutes songs, instead the very concise. Sometimes they do allow a song to reach close to the half way mark before bringing the vocals in, which seem to have less emphasis placed upon this this time around, sometimes they omit them altogether. The dive deep into the darkness with "Strains of Horror". If you wondered what it would have sounded like if DeepPurple had written the soundtrack to the Exorcist, here is a pretty good stab at it. I enjoy a good guitar solo as much as the next guy but its rare that they really add as much to an album as they do here. It carries classic rock flare , but maintains it's own voice. There is a stronger sense of metal majesty to the guitar duel that is "Holy Libations" that is a guitar players wet dream. After the interlude "Cauda Pavonis" Tribulation brings the album so a pounding finale with " Music From the Other". This has a very Watain pummeling to until they back off and let loose the dreary melodies. This is another step forward for the band that continues to grow with every album, they blend the more classic metal elements in with their more ethereal colors with ease earning a 9.5.