Norwegian Progressive Metal legends Enslaved will release their new album Utgard next fall via Nuclear Blast Records. The band has shared the first new music from the album in the form of a new single “Homebound”, including an amazing video. They are also selling a limited 7-inch single of the track. Continue reading
Norwegian Progressive Metal legends Enslaved will release their new album Utgard fall via Nuclear Blast Records. The band will drop the first new music from the album in the form of a new single “Homebound”, this Friday, May 22nd, 2020. Watch the teaser below! Continue reading
Progressive Metal legends Enslaved will release their new album, Utgard, in the fall via Nuclear Blast. The disc was tracked in Bergen in Duper Studio and next door at drummer Iver Sandøy’s Solslottet Studio before it was mixed at Fascination Street in Örebro, Sweden with Jens Bogren. The band made a post to Instagram with the artwork. The filmed a new music video at the South Coast of Iceland and Reykjanes. For the new clip, frontman Grutle Kjellson spent five days in Iceland with video producer Gaui H from Gaui H Pic, his production assistant Marita Joensen and the actors Striga and Kolbeinn. Their last album, E, came out in 2017, also via Nuclear Blast. Continue reading
Enslaved continues to make progress on their new album, due later in 2020 via Nuclear Blast. The has now teased new pictures from a breath-taking video shoot that frontman Grutle Kjellson undertook this January, around the south coast of Iceland and Reykjanes. For the new clip, Grutle spent five days in Iceland – together with video producer Gaui H from Gaui H Pic, his production assistant Marita Joensen and the actors Striga and Kolbeinn. Continue reading
Progressive Metal legends Enslaved have entered the studio, working toward new material for their upcoming album. This new album will see its release via Nuclear Blast Records and has a tentative release date of May 2020. Continue reading
When it comes to talking about the truly great modern day progressive rock bands, both in terms of excellence and in genuine evolutionary steps, Enslaved are arguably one of the most overlooked. Even during their root years in the early 90’s, within the hotbed of ideas and directions that was the second wave of black metal, Enslaved began to stand out from many of their peers, in part due to their, at the time, unusual song structures and their more overt Viking influences. Cut to present day and recent albums such as RIITIR and In Times (Nuclear Blast) showed much greater prog influences, whilst retaining much of their extreme metal heritage (take the blistering ‘Thurisaz Dreaming’ off of the latter, which is arguably the most ‘typical’ black metal song in their canon for many years). Continue reading
The brainchild of Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Einar Selvik (Wardruna), Skuggsjá was a project created to celebrate the Bicentenary of the Norwegian Constitution, and ‘A Piece For Mind and Mirror’ (Season of Mist) is the result.
Of course, as everyone outside of Norway is well aware, the country’s two hundredth anniversary was actually back in 2014, and that was when Bjørnson and Selvik were initially approached to perform a collaborative piece at the Eidsivablot Festival in Eidsvoll, Norway (where else?). Going by the name Skuggsjá (which translates into ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’), the pair decided the project deserved pursuing further. They performed together again at Roadburn Festival in 2015, with them secretly slipping into studios in and around Norway over the year to record material whenever possible.
Joined by the likes of Grutle Kjellson and Cato Bekkevold (Enslaved), Lindy-Fay Hella (Wardruna), and folk musicians Eilif Gundersen and Olav L Mjelva, the band have attempted to contextualise their brand of ‘harder’ music in the country’s two hundred years of history, looking at the cultural traditions and ideals of the nation and how relevant aspects of the past connect with the present. So, nice and easy then.
The band use traditional instruments (most of them handmade by Selvik himself, the multi-instrumentalist even going so far as to skin the hides of animals to make drums) such as the Birch-bark lure, Hardanger fiddle, bone-flute, Goat-horn, Kravik lyre, and Tagelharpa as well as all the usual instruments associated with the more contemporary genre of Black Metal. There are some modern electronics in there too, while the lyrics are a combination of early Scandinavian, Norwegian, and Norse.
This isn’t an album to be dissected track by track, but rather one that should be enjoyed as a whole, ideally listened to in a single sitting and free from distraction in order to fully absorb its magic. While relaxing during its more atmospheric parts, it’s easy to allow yourself to be transported to the edge of a cold Norwegian shoreline, looking out to sea as longboats silhouetted against the moonlit horizon move silently inshore, shrouded in a thick, ethereal fog. Er… well, anyway. It all sounds very, very Norwegian.
The heavier sections, most noticeable during ‘Rop Frå Røynda – Mælt Frå Minne’ and the ten and a half minute Bathory-esque ‘Skuggsjá‘, complement those instrumental, occasionally narrated parts perfectly, dropping in at the right moments, hitting you hard and never outstaying their welcome. Sometimes though, like with songs such as opener ‘Ull Kjem’, or closer ‘Ull Gjekk’, it’s the traditional instruments and different vocal styles, rather than the distorted guitars or blastbeats, which create the greatest, most lasting impact.
None more Norse.
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Stop what you’re doing.
I’d like you to stop what you’re doing right now and pay attention.
For here is the most impressive and important heavy metal album thus far in 2015. This is the record that is going to inhabit the upper echelons of those end of year lists and we are only in the year’s early months. This is the record that you’re going to smile knowingly about and, when all the hipsters come out of the woodwork to declare their love for it, you’re going to feel smug in the knowledge that you were there when Frost (Osmose) came out and when Axioma Ethica Odini (Indie/Nuclear Blast) changed your world view of what was possible with progressive metal. In Times (Nuclear Blast), the thirteenth album from Norwegian progressives Enslaved, is a record of staggering, jaw-dropping brilliance.
In Times distils the essence of Enslaved in brilliant, grandiose fashion but, like all great albums, suggests new, as yet uncharted opportunities. To use sporting parlance, suggesting that the band are at the top of their game is to truly misunderstand what’s going on here. Enslaved are not just at the top of their game; they are in the process of trying to change the game being played. In Times delivers six extended, expansive aural essays as opposed to songs. They are all brilliant, all have their own internal narratives, nuances and highlights and yet, knitted together, manifest themselves as the most coherent and immersive album of this band’s career.
‘Thurisaz Dreaming’ kicks things off in spectacular yet familiar fashion. We are thrown back into the brutal and ferocious territory that is reminiscent of the black metal hinterland of the band’s early period. This works on a number of levels- as a visceral introduction and a statement of intent for the new record, it is all welcome and vibrant strum und drang. As a reminder of how far the band have come without compromising their aesthetic or values it is a glorious throwing down of the gauntlet. About three minutes in, we move elegantly into the more progressive melodic territory of the band’s more recent past. It’s akin to pulling a handbrake turn. In lesser hands, this juxtaposition of styles would be clunky and knowing. With Enslaved, such is their talent for aural narrative, this seems like the most natural thing in the world. It is a technicolour, vibrant and furious opening.
It then gets even better. ‘Building with Fire’ is one of the best and most compelling manifestations of the band’s melding of clean, open singing and harsher brutalism that I have ever heard. It has a hypnotic 4/4 beat that acts as a simple yet effective architecture for the dual vocal talents of Herbrand Larsen and Grutle Kjellson. It’s brilliantly effective, and catchy as hell.
And then it gets better still. On ‘1000 Years of Rain’ we have one of the most intricate, eloquent and astonishingly creative songs the band have created. It is a rich and richly nuanced epic, covering an extraordinary range of styles, stitched together like a medieval tapestry. This is what the soundtrack to Game of Thrones sounds like in my head. We are treated to folk, hymnal chanting, riffing bigger than tectonic plates and a brilliant attention to detail that brings the listener back time and again to discover new gems as well as simply wallow in the gloriousness of it all.
Exemplary is the most apposite word that I can conjure for the majesty of ‘Nauthir Bleeding’. It stretches to almost breaking point the band’s capacity for bringing together the dream-like melody with gnarly bombast but it’s a stretching that never breaks, largely because this is a band that knows exactly what they are doing and do it with aplomb; being taken to the edge has rarely felt as thrilling.
The simplicity of what Enslaved do – the light and shade, the ambient and terrifying is simple enough to explain, much harder to deliver. On the ten minutes plus dynamism of the title track you really understand just how accomplished they are. This is the most obviously progressive track here with long ethereal passages that reflect the album’s otherworldly nature whilst continuing to blend in the relentless riffage that they are equally renowned for.
The album coda, ‘Daylight’, is well, magnificent, driving through fantastic melodies and power to the inevitable conclusion that leaves you shaking your head at how good it all is.
In Times is a reflection and a look forward; it is the most complete encapsulation of what Enslaved are about and what Enslaved are capable of. Again and again, In Times shifts your expectations about what “good” looks and sounds like. This is the most daring, ambitious, otherworldly and evocative album of an already deeply impressive career. It is the record where any scintilla of doubt of their genius can be banished from your mind, consigned to the dustbin and given a right royal telling off. With In Times, Enslaved have created an album where every ounce of their creative nous has been distilled into an album that is simply and utterly spellbinding.