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CD review ENSLAVED "E"

Veröffentlicht am 12. Oktober 2017 von Markus W. in Enslaved, Prog Metal, Black Metal, Heavy Metal, Classic Metal, News, Nuclear Blast, CD Review

CD review ENSLAVED "E"

(9/10) The process of musical progression of Norwegian metal outfit Enslaved reminds me more and more of Opeth. What are Opeth’s roots in Swedish death metal means a solid Bergen-based black metal foundation when it comes to Enslaved. Peu a peu both bands evolved their sound over time, becoming more technical and progressive. While Opeth reached a phase of playing demanding classic rock, it's the Norwegian quintet that still weaves in some oldschool references into their songs, combining those with technical finesse and intense emotions.

Simply called "E", it's the new album that opens a next door for the band. The latest releases of the group showed a shift towards a more layered sound, leading to the latest release "In Times" which functioned as a bridge between the band's roots and their contemporary music. It can be seen as the kind of closure of a chapter, which allows the discovery of a wider approach. If you, as being an oldschool Enslaved fan get scared now, I can tell you that there's no reason. The guys from Bergen are still harsh and brutal, thinking about the raging riffs and hoarse vocals in "Sacred Horse". But instead of solely pushing forward, Enslaved added some awesome twists, leading to a solemn section in the second half of the track. It's these kind of elements that make "E" to a challenging and exciting musical journey.

"E" comes with six songs, each of them a little epos in itself. Some atmospheric samples kick-off the title track. "Storm Son" is a cinematic masterpiece that not many bands would have dared to put in pole position. The track is a ten minutes opening chapter that is everything but not a quick deal. It shows how much is possible in the fields of extremer metal music. 

The progressive structures continue with "The River's Mouth" in a faster fashion with an intensity that's also a part of "Axis of the World". Again it's black metal fragments interact with some rock elements. What becomes clear with with this track is a change in the band's line-up, giving the guys a wider spectrum of options. Keyboards became a more prominent spot on "E" with Håkon Vinje being the new kid in town. As stated in the label information, the guy has one idol: Jon Lord. That's not a bad approach and you can listen to his ambition in some songs, even unveiling a warm Hammond-sound once in a while. 

This record includes compositions rather than quick shots, which is also reflected in the closer "Hiindsiight", being another ten minutes riff monster that switches between light and darkness. The start is slow and black before a harmonic section brings another vibe into spotlight. The tune feels like a constant fight between good and evil, including saxophone part half way, which gives the number a great but unexpected twist. 

"E" showcases Bergen's finest as a band that constantly moves forward, working on their music and sound by never letting loose their background and roots. With "E" the guys added another cornerstone to their already rich music career. Enslaved paints beautiful and wistful pictures that unveil their melancholic Northern glance if you give the album the time and attention needed. ""E" is an anchor point in a fast moving world.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Storm Son
  2. The River's Mouth
  3. Sacred Horse
  4. Axis of the Worlds
  5. Feathers of Eolh
  6. Hiinsiight
 

 

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Genre: Progressive Extreme Metal

Release Date EU: October 13th, 2017

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LP review ENSLAVED " Roadburn Live"

Veröffentlicht am 20. Mai 2017 von Markus W. in Enslaved, Roadburn, ByNorse, News, CD Review, LP Review, Live, Viking Metal, Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal

(8/10) In 2015 Bergen-based metal Vikings Enslaved embarked on a trip to The Netherlands. The purpose for this trip was the bands participation at Roadburn 2015 and even more – Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson curated this years festival edition.

The band performed twice, with the concert that was recorded for this release featuring the show on April 11th, 2015. "Roadburn Live" is by the way the first live album that Enslaved released up till now and stands for another highlight in the band's rich musical history. The guys from Norway played eight songs that night, each of them paying attention to the newer material of the band. Special highlight, next to the awesome tunes, is the guest appearances. No less than Waldruna’s Einar " Kvitrafn" Selvikfor “Daylight”, as well as Aðalbjörn Tryggvason from Sólstafir and Per Wiberg added some part to the total with their involvement leading to an extra when it comes to expression and intensity. Selvikfor also did some vocals on “Convoys to Nothingness” and in the end of the gig Enslaved included a cover song which was as also done with a guest. Led Zeppelin’s classic rock masterpiece “Immigrant Song” was performed as the closer of this show, supported by Focus’ Menno Gootjes. It's the first time ever that Enslaved recorded a cover version and we can conclude that the experiment worked out well. All these highlights are captured on this vinyl version that was released on record store day in conjunction with this years Roadburn festival.

The limited vinyl version came as gatefold with two golden records. Maybe ‘golden’ is a bit of a big word since it’s more a kind of yellowish beige rather then a shining gold color. However, that doesn’t limit the joy of listening to each of these eight songs after having hung up the A3 poster as additional wall decoration. This album contains great songs that have been performed in a special scenery - all in front of enthusiastic fans. And the fact that Jens Bogren did that mastering with  Iver Sandøy doing the mix means aso a perfect sound level when it comes to live recording. "Roadburn Live" is a very-well done release that's exciting for fans and rookies

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

Side 1:

  1. Building with Fire
  2. Death in the Eyes of Dawn

Side 2:

  1. In Times
  2. Daylight

Side 3:

  1. Convoys to Nothingness
  2. As Fire Swept Clean the Earth

Side 4:

  1. Isa
  2. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover)

 

Label: By Norse Music/Roadburn Records

Genre: Progressive Viking Metal

Release Date EU (Vinyl limited edition): April 22nd, 2017

Release Date EU (CD): May 19th, 2017

LP review ENSLAVED " Roadburn Live"
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CD review ENSLAVED "The Sleeping Gods - Thorn"

Veröffentlicht am 17. November 2016 von Markus W. in Enslaved, News, CD Review, Black Metal, Prog Metal, Heavy Metal, Viking Metal

(9/10) This Enslaved release is new and old - all in one. "The Sleeping Gods - Thorn" features seven songs that are from from 2010/2011. The tunes have been released earlier via two extremely limited EP's, a period between “Axioma Ethica Odini” and “Riitiir”.

"Heimvegen", the opener, starts melodic and reminds more of classic rock, something that changes after a while when the tune move towards an blackened piece of music, mainly driven by some evil vocals of Grutle Kjellson. Talking about the vocals, the lyrics are partly in English, Norwegian and Old Norse which emphasizes the the theme of mythology and the esoteric side of runes.

The most brutal song is Alu Misyrki" which stand for five minutes of dark Norwegian black metal. The counterpart comes next. "Synthesis" is a dark instrumental that spreads, with all the electronica, a gothic vibe and eerie vibe with some spoken words that intensify this atmosphere even more.

"The Sleeping Gods" has with its drum beat has almost a Norse folk expression before Enslaved drifts again away  in gloomy spheres with "Disintegrator".

"The Sleeping Gods - Thorn" is a realease that bridges the waiting time till a new Enslaved album hits the shelfs. It contains excellent songs of a band that combines black metal with progressive song structures and a lot of atmosphere. This longplayer is the soundtrack for dark November days.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist

  1. Heimvegen
  2. Alu Misyrki
  3. Synthesis
  4. Nordlys
  5. The Sleeping Gods
  6. Disinegrator
  7. Stiker

 

Label: By Norse Music

Genre: Progressive Black Metal

Release Date EU: November 11th, 2016

CD review ENSLAVED "The Sleeping Gods - Thorn"
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Special ENSLAVED shows in Oslo in December

Veröffentlicht am 15. Oktober 2016 von Markus W. in Enslaved, News, Death Metal, Black Metal, Pagan Metal, Folk Metal, New, Tour

'Oslo by Norse' features three shows of Norwegian metal icons and Grammy award-winners Enslaved, performing three nights in a row with different sets. The shows will take place at Blå, Oslo, from December 6yh to December 8th.

Enslaved will perform songs from their entire career, supported by bands like Oblieration, Virus and Maraton. Furthermore there are workshops included like the one from Einar Selvik from Wardruna which is about ancient Norwegian instruments and also an exhibition with pictures by Kim Holm is part of this three days event.

Ivar Bjørnson says: "London is already a most dear memory, New York has been long time announced. Now it is time to reveal the first Norwegian By Norse event; Oslo By Norse!
It will mark the beginning of the end; of a fantastic year where we have marked 25 years as a band. We will do three unique sets, divided by periods Beginning-Mid periods Later day Enslaved.
The special guest bands are of the "pinch me, I must be dreaming"-type; Obliteration, Virus and Maraton!?!? Is all these first-choice guys accepting the invite some kind of sick joke? If not, it has got to be one of the best billing ever. Subjectively speaking. Ugh!
There will also be an intimate workshop with our brother-in-arms Einar Selvik (followed by a panel led by yours truly), ink by poking (tattoo the Viking way) set up in the venue (!) by the legendary Ihuda Tattoo and live graphic art by the eternally young Kim Holm. I almost wish I were not playing so I could just experience this. Then again I would go crazy from not working. Hope to see you all at Oslo By Nors
e!!!"

Special ENSLAVED shows in Oslo in December
Special ENSLAVED shows in Oslo in December
Special ENSLAVED shows in Oslo in December
Special ENSLAVED shows in Oslo in December
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CD review Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik’s Skuggsjá "Skuggsjá"

Veröffentlicht am 8. März 2016 von Markus W. in Ivar Bjørnson, Einar Selvik, Enslaved, Wardruna, Folk, Pagan Metal, Heavy Metal, Prog Rock, News

(8/10) There are some records that are just exciting to listen to because they demand quite something from you as the listener; records that develop existing sounds further, that are demanding and still approachable.

"Skuggsjá" is one of those longplayers that are thrilling because they offer you a great possibility to dive into new soundscapes that are mind-blowing.

But let's start at the beginning. You might know the names of the two main guys behind this album. Ivar Bjørnson is guitarist and composer of Norwegian Enslaved, while Einar Selvik is the creative mind of Wardruna. The two guys have been the curators of 2015th Roadburn festival in Tilburg which included special shows of both bands - Enslaved and Wardruna.

The next fruitful output of this duo is the album we're taliing about in this review. "Skuggsjá" is the name of this longplayer, a Norwegian word that means ' mirror' or 'reflection'. Nomen et omen in this context since this longplayer reflects the Norwegian inheritage very well when it comes to language, poetry and instruments.

This album can be seen as metallized progressive folk rock that includes harsh guitars ("Makta Og Vanæra, For All Tid") next to almost forgotten old Scandianvian instruments. But also when it comes to the vocals things get pretty exciting. Starting with narrative style vocals ("Intro: Ull Kjem") the album includes as well fragile and beautiful female vocals, all this being completed by almost blackened metal screams here and there. In the end it's four persons sharing the vocal duties - Bjørnson, Selvik, Grutle Kjellson and Lindy-Fay Hella.

This album is more than just a record. "Skuggsjá" sets the Norwegian heritage to music in such a way that the listener almost gets the impression of being part of this exciting moment in time. This longplayer combines musical experience, endless passion and emotional depth to a pretty unique listening experience which demands time. Take your time and dive into the world of "Skuggsjá".

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklisting

  1. Intro: Ull Kjem
  2. Skuggsjá
  3. Makta Og Vanæra, For All Tid
  4. Tore Hund
  5. Rop Fra Røynda - Mælt Fra Minne
  6. Skuggeslåtten (instrumental)
  7. Kvervandi
  8. Vitkispá
  9. Bøn Om Ending, Bøn Om Byrjing
  10. Outro: Ull Gjekk
  11. Skaldens Song Til Tore Hund (Bonus tracks deluxe Digipak)
  12. Quantum Pasts (Rop Frå Røynda - Bardspec Ed) (Bonus tracks deluxe Digipak)

 

Label: Season Of Mist

Genre: Pagan Metal

Release Date EU: March 11th, 2016

 CD review Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik’s Skuggsjá "Skuggsjá"
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Ivar Bjørnson of ENSLAVED and WARDRUNA's Einar Kvitrafn Selvik curate Roadburn 2015

Veröffentlicht am 28. Juli 2014 von Markus W. in Roadburn, News, Enslaved, Wardruna, Ne

Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved and Wardruna's Einar Kvitrafn Selvik will curate the Roadburn Festival 2015. This includes special shows by Enslaved and Wardruna.

 

Here comes the official press statement:
 
"We're beyond thrilled to announce that Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved and Wardruna's Einar Kvitrafn Selvik will curate the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, on Friday, April 10, 2015 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
 
As curators, both Ivar and Einar will personally select the bands for their curated Roadburn event, named ‘Houses of the Holistic’, and play special shows with Enslaved and Wardruna respectively as well.
 
The Norwegian pair, both former Roadburn performers, have played an important role in bringing together the past, present and future sounds of hard rock, progressive metal, and alternative scenes, which makes them the ideal choice to carry on the tradition that began in 2008 with David Tibet of Current 93, and continued with Neurosis, Tom G. Warrior, Sunn 0))), Voivod, Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard and Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth.
 
One of the most hard-hitting and progressive bands to come out of Norway, Enslaved has drawn other musical genres and artistic expressions into the realm of metal, while being recognized for merging tradition and modernity in a unique blend of rock, prog and black metal, earning them Spellemann Awards (Norwegian Grammys) for much acclaimed and groundbreaking albums such as ‘Isa’, ‘Ruun’, and ‘Vertebrae’ among others.
 
Enslaved's performance, dubbed ‘House of Northern Gods’, will consist of a set list specially put together for ‘Houses of the Holistic’, featuring songs from the band's entire catalogue that embody the Norse gods, with accompanying visuals created by revered Romanian artist, Costin Chioreanu. Be prepared for a surprise or two, or even more.
 
Ivar Bjørnson comments: “To say that my dream as a kid was to one day curate the Roadburn Festival would perhaps be to take it a tad too far – but it isn’t that far from the truth. There’s some ridiculously big shoes to fill, but luckily negative pressure, idea draught and performance anxiety aren’t something I’m into. It is my favourite festival in one of my favourite parts of the world; so this is nothing short of one the biggest honours I’ve been given! It is a privilege to undertake this challenge in twosome with Einar; an artist I truly feel in tune with artistically and philosophically – now it is all about hard work and dedication to ensure that the audience and the festival itself is given a Friday to enjoy, experience and remember. I for one can’t wait!”
 
Winning the award for Best Underground Band at the 2104 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, Wardruna has taken Einar Kvitrafn Selvik's musical visions out of the contemporary framework and back into the authentic sounds and instrumentation of ancient Northern Europe. Wardruna (featuring Gaahl and Lindy Fay Hella, alongside Einar) received rave reviews for their mesmerizing 2009 debut ‘Gap Var Ginnunga’ and equally exciting follow up, ‘Yggdrasil’, the first two albums in the planned ‘Runaljod’ trilogy that interprets the ancient runic alphabet of the Elder Futhark.
 
Wardruna's special ‘Houses of the Holistic’ performance will definitely add another dimension to the kaleidoscope of styles and sounds associated with Roadburn.
 
“It is such a great honour for me; to be awarded the responsibility of carrying out the traditional role of the Roadburn curator", says Einar Kvitrafn Selvik. "Doing it together with Ivar makes it even more special. Roadburn is in my opinion such a high-level music festival - all quality to the fingertips. It is also a festival where presenting high quality musical art is more important than anything else, such as genre distinctions and scene divisions. We will work hard to deliver a program that both explore territories one has come to expect at Roadburn, while at the same time continue to expand its boundaries into new sonic realms.”
 
While the two curators’ musical output differs instrumentally and stylistically, Bjørnson and Selvik have a common direction towards the primeval and undiluted, not only in their own artistic expressions but also in their taste for other music, which is ultimately what they wish to present at Roadburn 2015 during ‘Houses of the Holistic’. We look forward to this collaboration and cannot wait to see how both Ivar and Einar will expand Roadburn Festival‘s musical horizons as well as explore more familiar territory from new angles. We will definitely be in for some artistic surprises, and Norway's Norse history, too!
 
Roadburn Festival 2015 will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands."

 

Source: Roadburn.com

Source: Roadburn.com

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