There may be other metal bands somewhere in the world whose musical journey has been as long, as varied, and as successful as that of Norway’s Enslaved, but there surely can’t be many.
They began life under the name Phobia, playing Autopsy-style doomy death metal, but they made their mark as a pioneering black metal band. They adopted their current name from the Immortal demo cut “Enslaved to Rot”. They shared a split with Emperor in 1993. And then they made a big impact with their 1994 debut album Frost. Their 1997 album Eld appears in the No. 8 position on the well-regarded list of black metal’s Top 100 albums at the Norsksvartmetall site.
But musically, Enslaved have been in almost constant motion, evolving in progressive directions. They have now finished recording their as-yet unnamed newest album, which is projected for release by the band’s new label Nuclear Blast in October. Today, the Lydverket web site (affiliated with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NRK) published an interview of the band by Totto Mjelde, which was conducted in the studio as the band were putting the finishing touches on the recording before sending it to Fascination Street Studios in Sweden for mixing.
We’ve written about NRK’s coverage of Norwegian metal in the past, and Totto was nice enough to tip us to this piece — which is in English and is definitely worth reading, not least because it includes a report about the music on Enslaved’s new album, an audio excerpt from one of the songs, and some nice photos from the studio.
After the jump, I’ve included a couple of highlights from the interview and Totto’s description of this first taste of music from Enslaved’s new album.
A total of eight castanets are used on the new album. (Actually, due to potential translation loss, I’m not sure whether this means castanets are used eight different times on the album or the band used eight castanets. Interesting, either way.)
This, from guitarist Ivar Peersen: “We’ve given more space to it all this time around. More space to the melodic stuff, more space to the prog flavor and ’70s-inspiration, there are glimpses of some doom, some good Voivod-style thrash, some cool guitar solos. All the little things that we like we have provided even more room for. It’s the “more is more”-philosophy. We’ve given up on the structural stuff once and for all. It’s not for us. So there’s not much verse-chorus-verse on the new record. We have tried a few places, but no one even hears that it is an attempt at a chorus.”
The new music:
Here’s Totto’s description of the one track that the band played for him during the interview: “A long and great proggy tune that has not yet been named. Grutle’s vocals sounds like it was recorded underwater, growly like a Grizzly, while the beautiful vocals of Herbrand Larsen gives the song a flavor of the last Enslaved album Axioma Ethica Odini. Heavy and catchy. Ugly and beautiful.”
Based on the excerpt from the song that’s streaming along with the interview, that’s a good description. Go HERE to check it out.
Now this made my day!!!! ENSLAVED!!!! Hell yeah!!!!!
Weird, I’m currently listening to “Mardraum” by coincidence, and ocne agan marvellinga t just how close it is to being a death metal album. A pretty avant-garde one, but still, pretty death metal.
That being said… I am mildly concerned that the next album will be more of a “Vertebrae” than an “Axioma…”.
I expressed my own mild concerns to myself this way: will this be analogous to what Opeth did on “Heritage”?
Ha ha, I thought the same thing when I read, “more space to the prog flavor and ’70s-inspiration.”
This ws my reaction:
New Enslaved!!! I cannot wait for the new album! I’m sore, tired, and at work, but this just made my day!
I really liked the other song they posted. Something to look out for!
As one of the rare few who thinks Vertebrae is the best Enslaved album, this clips greatly excites me. Dat bass tone.
this made my day.