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2020: The Year In Metal

Jesus fucking christ, guys. You know what kind of year this was. And if somehow you forgot what 2020 was, consider this: over the past 12 months, I have only managed to audition 52 new albums, or 1 per week. That’s something like 40% my usual workload. Do you have albums that I missed?

Enslaved -- Utgard
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EnslavedUtgard

★★★☆ This, finally, is an Enslaved album that I can enjoy without reservation. The pacing is great, bordering on psychic; the blending of styles (black metal, prog, beerhall, Viking, jazz) is tasteful, sensible, and pleasing to the ear. This is a Must Listen for sure, and my favorite Enslaved album ever.

Enslaved -- In Times
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EnslavedIn Times

Enslaved continue making themselves comfortable in the micro-niche between classis black metal tropes and Opeth/Ihsahn-style intricacy. In fact, they wind up sounding a little too comfortable. The songs all go on a minute too long, in part because the extremes — the most energetic and the most subdued — are anything but.