ENSLAVED
Black Metal • Norway

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Enslaved is a metal band from Bergen, Norway. Their style has changed over the years. Originally being an old-school black metal/viking metal act, they now perform a more experimental form of progressive black metal with folk influences. The name was inspired by an Immortal demo track, Enslaved in Rot.

Enslaved was formed in 1991, by Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson. Joined by drummer Trym Torsson, they did their first demo in the summer of 1992. While working with the first full length, there came a call from England, resulting in the two 1993 legendary mini albums; Hordanes land and Emperor These two mini-albums was released as a split-record "Emperor/Hordanes Land". Due to tragic circumstances, Enslaved’s debut album Vikingligr Veldi was held back until the spring of 1994. Enslaved moved their label base to French Osmose Productions, and Frost were released late in the 1994. Enslaved were now known outside the
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RiitiirRiitiir
Nuclear Blast Americ 2012
Audio CD$5.92
$5.41 (used)
Axioma Ethica OdiniAxioma Ethica Odini
Nuclear Blast America 2010
Audio CD$4.84
$4.49 (used)
VertebraeVertebrae
Nuclear Blast Americ 2008
Audio CD$3.86
$3.75 (used)
IsaIsa
Candlelight 2005
Audio CD$3.75
$3.75 (used)
FrostFrost
Season of Mist 2008
Audio CD$9.90
$8.96 (used)
Below the LightsBelow the Lights
Import
Osmose Productions 2003
Audio CD$13.87
$10.80 (used)
Vikingligr Veldi & Hordanes LandVikingligr Veldi & Hordanes Land
Candlelight 2004
Audio CD$12.52
$8.62 (used)
MonumensionMonumension
Import
Osmose Productions 2007
Audio CD$10.89
$13.10 (used)
RuunRuun
Import
Imports 2008
Audio CD$8.01
$9.98 (used)
Mardraum: Beyond the WithinMardraum: Beyond the Within
Season of Mist 2009
Audio CD$8.84
$6.07 (used)
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ENSLAVED Discography

ENSLAVED albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.93 | 20 ratings
Vikingligr Veldi
Black Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.88 | 20 ratings
Frost
Black Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.76 | 19 ratings
Eld
Black Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.55 | 12 ratings
Blodhemn
Black Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.67 | 17 ratings
Mardraum: Beyond the Within
Black Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 4.18 | 17 ratings
Monumension
Black Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.15 | 20 ratings
Below the Lights
Black Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 4.35 | 35 ratings
Isa
Black Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.83 | 23 ratings
Ruun
Black Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.96 | 31 ratings
Vertebrae
Black Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 4.16 | 43 ratings
Axioma Ethica Odini
Black Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 4.32 | 27 ratings
RIITIIR
Black Metal 2012

ENSLAVED EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.85 | 8 ratings
Hordanes Land
Black Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.71 | 17 ratings
The Sleeping Gods
Black Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 3.79 | 7 ratings
Thorn
Black Metal 2011

ENSLAVED live albums

ENSLAVED demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 1.50 | 2 ratings
Nema
Black Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 3.05 | 2 ratings
Yggdrasil
Black Metal 1992

ENSLAVED boxset & compilations

ENSLAVED singles (0)

ENSLAVED movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.17 | 3 ratings
Live Retaliation
Black Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.33 | 3 ratings
Return to Yggdrasil: Live in Bergen
Black Metal 2005

ENSLAVED Reviews

ENSLAVED Hordanes Land

EP · 1993 · Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
ENSLAVED's first official release HORDANES LAND came out as an EP just a year after their 2nd demo “Yggdrasill.” It was released independently at first and then a few weeks later also as a split with the first Emperor EP. I have the remastered edition that was released in 2004 with the debut album “Vikingligr Veldi.” The lineup is the same with the two founders Ivar Bjørnson on guitar, keyboards and vocals and Grutle Kjellson handling bass. Trym Torson is still on board on drums.

There has been a major leap in songwriting on this first release as the three tracks are much more varied and complex than the demos. The track “Allfáðr Oðinn” which is included on this EP was the strongest and most progressive on “Yggdrasill” and the band recognized that and used it as the template for their further evolution down the path of ever more progressive black metal. Already at this stage they have a unique sound that despite keeping the basics of second wave black metal in tact, they offer a whole variety of ideas that is layered upon it.

From the opening track “Slaget...” that offers a somewhat artificial sounding choral chant we get a strange keyboard progression that is actually quite catchy and succeeds in overpowering a brutal buzzsaw wall-of-sound with the typical black metal style of shrieks and growls for vocals. The track also shows a much more epic approach in the music as it is divided into three distinct acts and just creeps over the 13 minute mark. In addition to brutal black metal parts there are slow sections that even have classical acoustic guitar sections in the mix. The other two tracks are no less brutal in their delivery, catchy in their hooks or progressive in their developments. They both are well over the 7 minute mark.

The production is still lo-fi but not as so as on the demos. I find myself listening to this EP a lot for although it lacks the complexity of 21st century releases by the band, it is a satisfying listen that is interesting for its own sake as well as putting the band's history in some sort of context. I enjoy this early period of ENSLAVED just as much as the later releases. This is a surprisingly well crafted musical experience and this is only the band's first release. It demonstrates that the band not only mastered the brutality of black metal but that they could also adapt it to include some truly interesting and diverse elements. For me this is beyond for collector's only and I highly recommend this.

ENSLAVED Yggdrasil

Demo · 1992 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
ENSLAVED made a steady progress from their debut demo “Nema” to their 2nd demo YGGDRASILL. On this release it is clear that the band was setting themselves apart from the rest of the second wave black metal pack by not only adding more progressiveness to their music but by focusing their lyrical content on their Norwegian Viking heritage instead of the majority of other black metal bands of the day who were more interested in attacking Christianity and the rest of the world at large. The title YGGDRASILL in fact refers to an immense tree in Norse cosmology which represents the existence of nine different worlds. Unfortunately all lyrics are in Norwegian and they could be singing about inflatable life rafts as far as I know.

This release is very much second wave black metal with extreme aggression, lo-fi production and all the usual shrieks and growls and blastbeats and buzzsaw tremolo guitar work. On the progressive front most songs are much longer with four out of six hitting the six minute mark. The addition of keyboards is more prominent and the song structures have incorporated interesting changes that display a clearer view of the path the band was embarking upon. The track “Allfáðr Oðinn” is so good that the band included it on their first officially released EP “Hordanes Land.” This demo shows a mature songwriting that is quite impressive for these young musicians who were paving their own way very early in the black metal game. I suspect the production will scare off many but I have a hi-tolerance for lo-fi and enjoy this release more than “Nema.”

ENSLAVED Nema

Demo · 1991 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
As a lover of both black metal and progressive music I find the combination of the two very exciting and few bands have consistently been as adept at putting those two worlds together than ENSLAVED has done with their vast canon and throughout all these decades they haven't released one uninteresting album. I find it fascinating to dig deep into the vaults of such a band's history to experience the origins of such a unique musical force and one cannot dig any deeper than their first demo NEMA which was released the same year the band officially formed.

On this very first release from ENSLAVED we find the two founding members Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson, then only 13 and 17 years old hooking up with Trym Torson who would go on to join Emperor. This is definitely one for the collector's and hard core fans only, of which I am one. The music on here is very lo-fi and very basic second wave black metal, however despite these tracks being light-years away from albums like “Monumension” and “Riitiir,” there are small signs of nascent progressiveness in the mix. Even at this early stage ENSLAVED had a good sense of the dynamics of shifting through different styles to keep it interesting. The opening and closing tracks are even a bit ambient. All in all a display of potential but probably not something most fans will rush to seek out.

ENSLAVED Axioma Ethica Odini

Album · 2010 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Axioma Ethica Odini finds Enslaved in the process of incorporating a higher proportion of black metal venom into their sound, after previous releases had downplayed that side of their music in order to further develop their progressive metal tendencies. The end result is a vicious progressive black metal trip which I consider to be their best album since Monumension, and certainly laid the stage for the excellent RIITIIR which followed. In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favourite between the two, but on balance I would say that this one just barely has the edge, if only for the incredible use of clean and bestial vocals.

ENSLAVED Monumension

Album · 2001 · Black Metal
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Warthur
Following the dabblings in progressive influences on the preceding Mardraum, Monumension finds Enslaved diving head-first into the prog-black metal direction which they've persisted in to this day, with marvelous results. It would not be too much of a stretch to suggest that all their subsequent studio albums have essentially been refinements and embellishments on the advances made here - and that's no bad thing, because the musical universe they open up here (spanning the full distance from prog metal to black metal) contains near-endless variety.

Aside from the tacked-on bonus track Sigmundskvadet (which isn't so much as an Enslaved track as a HOV track with the members of Enslaved joining in with the choir), the album is presented entirely in English, representing a decisive shift from the all-Vikings-all-the-time stylings of earlier Enslaved and opening up new thematic dimensions for the band. The album as a whole is a fabulous accomplishment and deserves to be in any prog metal or black metal collection.

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