Enslavement of Beauty
Mere Contemplations

OK, so there is melodic black metal and then there is Norway’s veteran act Enslavement of Beauty, who with their third album, deliver an uber sugary sweet mix of Gothic synths and very polite, catchy black metal/melodic death metal. Think early Children of Bodom mixed with maybe the synth laced melodic death metal of Lothlorien and a far less bombastic but just as symphonic Arthemesia, all layered with heavily poetic, supposedly Shakespearean lyrics.

If that mix appeals to you, then read on.

Its all very restrained and almost mid paced with nary a hint of blastbeats or ferocity, and to be honest, despite the well crafted guitar work and ubiquitous melodies, its all a bit too ‘nice’ for me, even with the blackened rasps of Ole Alexander Myrholt (who also runs the INRI Unlimited label).

The initial tracks held my interest for a bit especially “The Perilous Pursuit of Volition”, but truth be told, not much else on the album held my interest. It’s polished, peppy and well played but most of the time it borders on wimpy Napalm Records styled Goth metal, just with black metal rasps instead of female vocals (which do make an appearance early and often on tracks like “A Study of Love and Metaphors”, “X and Moments”). About halfway into the album (after the hugely bouncy “An Affinity for Exuberance”), I’m completely bored and craving something nastier or just more ripping. Even when I am in the mood for something like this I’ll each reach for an actual Goth metal album or a symphonic black metal album, not this soupy half and half mix.

To be fair though, fans of really melodic death metal or those who like their black metal no so much black but more a shade of purple or light blue may dig this-it’s competent and incredibly catchy, but at the same time it’s pretty spineless. Even when the band do ‘crank it up’ for say “Abundance Extends to Lush”, its short lived and sandwiched in between oodles of solos and more contemplative softer moments and tracks (“Impressions”).

Mere Comtemplations isn’t a bad album, its just the kind of black metal album you might play for your mother or girlfriend.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 4th, 2008


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