It is clear that Fen misses old Enslaved as much as I do. The result on this album is the more atmospheric and folk elements have been scales back to the fringes of their sound in favor for a more bombastic epic charge of sound. The blast beat come even amid the long 17 minute , opener. At seventeen minutes you have time to work in every heavy metal staple that you can think of. This si their fifth album and they have clearly matured and everything sounds great production wise. The bass playing is still superb and sits better in this large take on their sound. The majority of the songs are over ten minutes. "Penance" has more adventurous guitar playing and reminds me more of their earlier work in the way the mix has a lot of space. The song swells into a gang cheer of some sort. I think this album is more focused and more black metal than what I remember hearing from these guys 5 or 6 years ago.
There is smoother jam in the calm before the storm to "Fear". It then builds up into a more feral fury that is very black metal, but not really mind blowing. There is a more post-rock instrumental feel to the first half of "Interment". The scathing vocals follow a more melodic vocal chant. Sure it sounds great but is a little on the more color by numbers side. "Death" emerges from the swell of feedback left over from the previous song which is a pretty fucking metal way to segue. The harsher vocals feel like this have a little more aggression to them this go around. I am more impressed by the nuanced prog metal like guitar parts that offer groove.They try to re-kindle their more atmospheric days of old by going all out for the almost kraut rock like closing song which comes back harder with a more metallic tone in the final two minutes of it's almost ten minute wandering.
This was a decent enough listen, not a huge fan of the band but appreciate what they do and think this is one of the stronger examples of what that is. The vocals have improved so I will give this an 8. Black metal has not been redefined at all, but this has a fan base that is eager to hear this well done and it is well done and very tasteful.