Enslaved debut lyric video for new track "One Thousand Years of Rain"

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Terrorizer has debuted the official lyric video for the new single "One Thousand Years of Rain" from legendary progressive black metal band Enslaved.

The single comes from their upcoming record In Times due out March 10 from Nuclear Blast, available for pre-order here.

The single ends on a fade-out, much like their previous single from their upcoming record, "Thurisaz Dreaming." Given that the album was announced not to long ago to contain a mere 6 tracks with a run-time of just over 50 minutes, this is no great surprise; Enslaved hasn't exactly been known for their brevity in the past and with average track times hitting around the 9 minute mark, it makes sense that they would use some creative editing to get a 4-5 minute long track in front of people.

Or perhaps these are briefer tracks between much lengthier epics. That question will be revealed in a few weeks.

"On Thousand Years of Rain" shows a renewed emphasis on the black metal aspects of Enslaved's sound.

This too isn't a great surprise; the band has made a habit from 2008's Vertebrae on of leaning back and forth between their progressive rock and black metal influences, always featuring a thorough mixture of the two but making one ever-so-slightly more prominent.

While there are no blastbeats on the song (or the single they previously dropped), the emphasis is definitely on more energetic and aggressive playing, alternatingly dissonant and melodic New Wave of British Heavy Metal-influenced riffs, and a mixture of punky drum beats and more typical straight-ahead powerful heavy metal drumming.

Unfortunately, the choice for a lyric video doesn't seem to be a particularly wise one. It's not that Enslaved's lyrics are bad; while metal can certainly at times be cerebral, there is a kind of overwrought dramatic flair to the aesthetic of heavy metal that's fairly well accepted by its fans.

But the power of heavy metal vocals, especially extreme metal, which can often feature vocal stylings from rasps to screams to growls to something closer to a gargle, comes primarily from delivery and how the aesthetic of the vocal take meshes with the energy of the instruments.

The lyrics are not unimportant, of course, but they are an ancillary aspect compared to the aesthetic whole. Unlike hip-hop or pop or even more radio-friendly forms of rock, one tends to refer to the lyrics sheet of metal records as one of the last steps, letting the visual and sonic aesthetic elements paint the primary picture of the work.

This, combined with the way extreme metal vocals can often render vocals difficult to decipher, tends to lead to only certain lines bubbling up through the cracks of the songs, a phrase here, a few lines there, perhaps one clearly understandable word howled over a shifting set of chords in another place.

An emotional resonance builds up regarding those cornerstone lyrics which then is fleshed out by reference to the sheet.

Being aware of the lyrics as-written from the get-go can sometimes lead to some cringe-worthy moments, especially without the emotional heft that comes from deeply internalizing a song to buffet the weaknesses of some of the lines here.

That said, the extreme vocals are as sickening and animalistic here as ever, feeling less demonic like some of their black metal peers and more like a snarling woodland beast. There is a wetness to the vocals that is normally absent from black metal, which tends toward the drier end of things. Likewise, the clean vocals maintain their sense of barrel-chested monks bellowing out melodic liturgical chants, with that endearing slight Nordic accent the Swedes have never quite been able to shake.

The production allows a distinction of each of the instruments without devolving into an overly-compressed or overly-clean and clinical sound that saps the life out of the performances of a great deal of records.

This, too, is no surprise; even when Enslaved more obviously rubbed shoulders with other second-wave black metal bands in their early years, cutting splits with the likes of Emperor, they sought a richer production than the often deliberately lo-fi sound of their peers.

They cut the balance well, maintaining a sense of primal energy in the heavier moments but allowing a richness and nuance of playing to make the more obviously progressive rock-inclined moments flower out as much as they should.

Enslaved will be hitting the road in North America in support of In Times in March, featuring Yob and Ecstatic Vision as support. The dates are as follows:

Enslaved Tour Dates

3/05/15 San Diego, CA - Brick By Brick
3/06/15 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
3/07/15 San Francisco, CA - Slim's
3/09/15 Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater
3/10/15 Vancouver BC - Rickshaw Theatre
3/11/15 Seattle, WA - El Corazon
3/13/15 Salt Lake City, UT - Bar Deluxe
3/14/15 Denver, CO - Summit Music Hall
3/16/15 Minneapolis, MN - Mill City Nights
3/17/15 Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall
3/19/15 Toronto, ON - Opera House
3/20/15 Montreal, QC - Les Foufounes Electriques
3/21/15 New York, NY - Gramercy Theatre
3/22/15 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
3/23/15 Baltimore, MD - Baltimore Soundstage
3/24/15 Boston, MA - Sinclair

Image taken from Enslaved's Facebook page.