ENSLAVED — Mardraum: Beyond the Within

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ENSLAVED - Mardraum: Beyond the Within cover
3.90 | 29 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2000

Filed under Black Metal


1. Større enn tid - Tyngre enn natt (10:06)
2. Daudningekvida (3:30)
3. Entrance - Escape (7:42)
4. Ormgard (5:28)
5. Æges draum (4:42)
6. Mardraum (3:39)
7. Det endelege riket (5:18)
8. Ormgard II - Kvalt i kysk høgsong (3:43)
9. Krigaren eg ikkje kjende (6:31)
10. Stjerneheimen (5:46)
11. Frøyas smykke (1:54)

Total Time: 58:24


R. Kronheim: Electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals, percussion
Grutle Kjellson: Vocals, bass
Ivar Bjørnson: Guitars, keyboards, effects
Dirge Rep: Drums, percussion

About this release

Vinyl limited to 1000 copies

Released in the US by Necropolis Records.

2008 licensed North American re-release by Season of Mist.

Song title translations:
1.Larger Than Time - Heavier Than Night
4.The Hive
5.Aege's Dream
7.The Ending Empire
8.The Hive II - Strangled By Purity
9.Warrior Unknown
11.Freya's Necklace

Please note that track 3 is sung in English and uses it's English title on the
back of the CD.

Warning - Osmose CD presses from February 2001 up to around 2005 may contain a
copy-protection method which renders the CD completely unreadable in PCs and
certain modern Hi-Fi systems. This isn't indicated anywhere on the packaging.

Thanks to Prog Geo, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
The last decade of the 20th century saw a major split between the strains of extreme metal that had gestated into more distinct subgenre categories at the end of the 80s. By the mid 80s, black, death, doom and progressive metal were well on their way to become fully developed subgeneres splitting off from the parents at an astonishing rate like amoebas gracefully undergoing meiosis in a petri dish. While the majority of extreme metal bands were satisfied in pigeonholing themselves into one newly found subgenre or another, others couldn’t quite decide which way to proceed, so they chose more than one. The world of ENSLAVED owes a major debt to the sonic realities created by fellow Scandinavian Quorthon who under the guise of his band Bathory introduced the world to black metal and then once again moved on to the world of Viking metal which emphasized traditional Scandinavian folklore, mythology and instrumentation while eschewing the expected anti-Christian vitriol and Satanic church burning shenanigans that were plaguing the Norwegian extreme metal world in the early 90s.

Even on their debut “Vikingligr Veldi” ENSLAVED were entertaining the notion of expanding beyond the quickly ossifying expectations of subgenre conformity and although they retreated a couple steps back with their next few albums “Frost,” “Eld” and “Blodhemn” that deemphasized the progressive touches in favor of more Viking themed black metal ferocity, on their fifth album MARDRAUM - BEYOND THE WITHIN, the band had a rekindling, or more accurately explosive discharge of the creative pent up energy that was captured on their debut and was ready for prime time for a new millennium unfolding. The sonic evolution heard on MARDRAUM (Norwegian for “nightmare”) is not only crushing in its sonic bombast but pulverizes the status quo of subgenre categorization as it unapologetically incorporates the fiercest black metal ferocity with Viking metal themes that unfold seemingly accessible riffing styles into insanely complex beasts of progressiveness. The world of metal could hardly see one his coming.

With an opening that reminds more of the Cocteau Twins than the second wave of black metal, ENSLAVED were breaking the chains of sonic subjugation and unfurling their victory flag in the defeat of complacency. While “Større enn Tid - Tyngre enn Natt“ may bring space pop to mind at first, it quickly delivers the old one, two punch of Ivar Bjørnson and Roy Kronheim’s blistering dual guitar abuse and while technically dishing out the same riff, the duo usher in a totally revolutionary methodology of incorporating subtle distinctions between their counterpoints and offer a sonic storm of creative interpretations. In fact every musician involved on MARDRAUM is firing on fully fueled pistons as Grutle Kjellson pounds out unbelievable bass lines while Dirge Rep unleashes his mastery of drum abuse unlike anything heard on ENSLAVED’s previous canon. MARDRAUM is in effect the heaviest album the band had done at the time and remains so to date despite offering a clairvoyant peek into the world of progressive metal that they would elucidate on future releases beginning with the followup “Monumension” which includes interludes into clean vocal folk extravaganzas as well as cleverly placed ambient wizardry. Of course the black metal raspy vocals are on full display and have never sounded as energized as they do here.

MARDRAUM can be considered a musical transubstantiation of sort in its own right for providing the bridge between the Viking themed black metal phase of ENSLAVED’s long and enduring career and the progressive black metal to occur after, but more than anything MARDRAUM proves to be a pinnacle of black metal creativity at the turn of the millennium showing ENSLAVED break away from the gravitational pull of their influences and finding the free range of musical independence which MARDRAUM displays in full regalia. Although steeped in black metal buzzsaw fury with blastbeat prowess and earache inducing decibelage, this collection of eleven tracks stampedes like a cavalry of warriors on horseback laying waste to any unfortunate bystanders in their trajectory. Personally i find the millennium turnover era of ENSLAVED to be their absolute best beginning with this final chapter of their most ferocious and aggressive stage of their career and MARDRAUM delivers all the goods in an amazing and precise manner. One of, if not my favorite ENSLAVED album.
Enslaved's debut album included some comparatively fancy progressive influences for black metal of its era, but their second album (Frost) took a turn back towards more straight-ahead black metal inspired by the model for Viking metal put forth by Bathory, and their next two ploughed ahead in that vein. Mardraum, by contrast, sees that progressive influence return to their music.

In turning away from a "pure" black metal approach, Enslaved bring up to date the approach of their debut album, with its curious blend of harsh and relaxing musical elements, and also takes into account both recent advances in technical black metal and in the band's own mastery of the studio. No longer feeling the need to take a particularly lo-fi or "kvlt" approach to producing black metal, the band simply take their mystical Viking metal approach in their own direction without asking for or requiring the approval of any particular metal scene.
"Mardraum: Beyond the Within" is the 5th full-length studio album by Norwegian black metal act Enslaved. The album was released in 2000 through Osmose Productions.

The music on the album marks a slight transition in sound for Enslaved. While the basis in the music is still black metal/ blackened thrash (it´s very obvious that Enslaved are influenced by eighties thrash metal acts like Possessed, Celtic Frost and Kreator), progressive rock elements have begun to sneak into the music. The best examples are "Entrance - Escape", "Frøyas Smykke" and the 10:07 minutes long opening song "Større enn tid - Tyngre enn Natt". The latter is definitely the highlight of the album to me. Don´t expect a lot of progressive ideas though this is still first and foremost a black metal album. The vocals are pre-dominantly delivered in raspy and harsh black metal style but there are also clean vocals in a couple of the songs.

The musicianship is excellent. Tight playing and great harsh and clean vocals. Note that there are guitar solos on the album as well. Something that is not as dominant on earlier recordings by Enslaved. And great solos too I might add.

The production is strong and well sounding. It´s actually the first Enslaved album where it is apparent that they employ a bassist.

"Mardraum: Beyond the Within" is the first Enslaved album where I begin to understand what the band are capable of. I enjoyed both "Eld (1997)" and "Blodhemn (1998)" greatly but with "Mardraum: Beyond the Within" the band bring just enough new elements into their sound to really intrigue me. A 3.5 star rating is deserved.
Conor Fynes
'Mardraum: Beyond The Within' - Enslaved (7/10)

Journeying through Enslaved's discography, it is rather remarkable how much they were able to change their sound, without changing their genre. Black metal has always been the root and heart of what these Norwegian metallers are all about, but as the albums went by, Enslaved went through several incarnations. 'Mardraum' of the most pivotal albums in Enslaved's development from a more primitive black or viking metal act to the progressive metal powerhouse they are today. After two fairly bland albums with 'Eld' and 'Blodhemn', I was beginning to tire of the fairly underwhelming viking metal that Enslaved was doing after their excellent first and second albums, which had been more black metal oriented. While this album lacks the polish or refinement of the band's later work, 'Mardraum' would see Enslaved experimenting quite a bit with their sound, and set the stage for their later, more progressive material.

'Mardraum: Beyond The Within' opens with almost an overture of sorts; 'Stшrre enn Tid - Tyngre enn Natt' goes through a number of different ideas and sounds before the vocals are even itnroduced. From the opening minutes of this album, the listener is introduced to everything this album has to offer; heavy moments of blackened thrash metal, ambiance, quasi-psychedelic soft moments and plenty of atmosphere to go around. The vocals eventually come into the music, but as opposed to the raspy snarl I may have been expecting after hearing some very heavy opening riffs on the album, there are clean vocals, sung in the band's native Norwegian. The clean singing of Grutle Kjellson is fairly rough here, and works better as a chanting drone, rather than a voice that can hold much of a melody. Luckily, Enslaved appears to be aware of this and rarely uses the clean vocals for anything other than to give some added feeling of Scandinavian folk to their sound, amounting usually to a monotone delivery that does not harm the sound, but also never feels much in the way of passion.

The album is rough as I've said, a little long for its own good, and fairly inconsistent, but these are all byproducts of the album's sheer ambition. There are elements of so much here, and that really makes 'Mardraum' one of the more relevant albums in the band's discography. Hearing a primitive collision of 60's psychedelia and black metal here is great, and Enslaved helped to lay the foundation for a wider range of progressive black metal with this album. It is rough around the edges, but it is diverse, heavy, and full of surprises.
Mardraum is the first Enslaved album of the new decade. It is one of their best and most essential ones, and it bridges their black metal fury of the 90’s with the progressive directions they would take in the 00’s. The sound is still raw but the production is sharp, clear and heavy. The music has opened up compared to Blodhemn, with more room for atmospherics and composition.

Mardraum is breathtaking, stunning, shocking, evil, ice-cold, morbid, ultra-aggressive, dissonant, possessed, insane, evil, satanic, primal and yet it's also full of stunning riffs, chilling melodies, rhythm, icy screams, growls and chants.The exceptional qualities are maintained through all songs. Maybe one or two could have been left off to make an even more devastating impact. This is very extreme music of course and not easy to get into, but if you can stomach it you will be overawed by it.

This is one of the Enslaved essentials next to "Eld", "Isa" and "Axioma Ethica", not as streamlined and digestible ad the last two but more focussed and concise then "Eld". To compare it to classical music is maybe a bit of a stretch but this is as disturbing as the Sacre Du Printemps was almost a century ago. A worship of all things pagan, untamed and hedonistic. Probably my favourite Black Metal album.

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