ENSLAVED

Black Metal / Progressive Metal / Viking Metal / Atmospheric 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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ENSLAVED Discography

ENSLAVED albums / top albums

ENSLAVED Vikingligr Veldi album cover 3.79 | 34 ratings
Vikingligr Veldi
Black Metal 1994
ENSLAVED Frost album cover 3.74 | 37 ratings
Frost
Black Metal 1994
ENSLAVED Eld album cover 3.75 | 33 ratings
Eld
Black Metal 1997
ENSLAVED Blodhemn album cover 3.56 | 24 ratings
Blodhemn
Black Metal 1998
ENSLAVED Mardraum: Beyond the Within album cover 3.91 | 29 ratings
Mardraum: Beyond the Within
Black Metal 2000
ENSLAVED Monumension album cover 4.22 | 29 ratings
Monumension
Black Metal 2001
ENSLAVED Below the Lights album cover 4.26 | 38 ratings
Below the Lights
Black Metal 2003
ENSLAVED Isa album cover 4.20 | 52 ratings
Isa
Black Metal 2004
ENSLAVED Ruun album cover 3.93 | 36 ratings
Ruun
Black Metal 2006
ENSLAVED Vertebrae album cover 3.99 | 43 ratings
Vertebrae
Progressive Metal 2008
ENSLAVED Axioma Ethica Odini album cover 4.23 | 58 ratings
Axioma Ethica Odini
Progressive Metal 2010
ENSLAVED RIITIIR album cover 4.30 | 50 ratings
RIITIIR
Progressive Metal 2012
ENSLAVED In Times album cover 4.15 | 24 ratings
In Times
Progressive Metal 2015
ENSLAVED E album cover 4.29 | 21 ratings
E
Progressive Metal 2017
ENSLAVED Utgard album cover 4.21 | 16 ratings
Utgard
Progressive Metal 2020

ENSLAVED EPs & splits

ENSLAVED Hordanes Land album cover 3.79 | 16 ratings
Hordanes Land
Black Metal 1993
ENSLAVED Emperor / Hordanes Land album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Emperor / Hordanes Land
Black Metal 1993
ENSLAVED The Forest Is My Throne / Yggdrasill album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Forest Is My Throne / Yggdrasill
Black Metal 1995
ENSLAVED The World Domination Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The World Domination Live
Viking Metal 1998
ENSLAVED The Sleeping Gods album cover 3.68 | 21 ratings
The Sleeping Gods
Progressive Metal 2011
ENSLAVED Thorn album cover 3.60 | 9 ratings
Thorn
Atmospheric Black Metal 2011
ENSLAVED Shining on the Enslaved album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Shining on the Enslaved
Black Metal 2015
ENSLAVED Live In Plovdiv album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Plovdiv
Progressive Metal 2017
ENSLAVED Caravans to the Outer Worlds album cover 3.50 | 4 ratings
Caravans to the Outer Worlds
Progressive Metal 2021

ENSLAVED live albums

ENSLAVED Live at the Rock Hard Festival album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at the Rock Hard Festival
Progressive Metal 2009
ENSLAVED Roadburn Live album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Roadburn Live
Progressive Metal 2017

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

ENSLAVED Nema album cover 1.79 | 5 ratings
Nema
Black Metal 1991
ENSLAVED Yggdrasil album cover 3.12 | 4 ratings
Yggdrasil
Black Metal 1992
ENSLAVED Promo 94 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Promo 94
Black Metal 1994
ENSLAVED The Watcher (Live) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Watcher (Live)
Progressive Metal 2011

ENSLAVED re-issues & compilations

ENSLAVED The Wooden Box album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wooden Box
Black Metal 2009
ENSLAVED The Sleeping Gods - Thorn album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Sleeping Gods - Thorn
Progressive Metal 2016

ENSLAVED singles (0)

ENSLAVED movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.06 | 4 ratings
Live Retaliation
Black Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.33 | 3 ratings
Return to Yggdrasil: Live in Bergen
Black Metal 2005

ENSLAVED Reviews

ENSLAVED Frost

Album · 1994 · Black Metal
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SilentScream213
Enslaved managed to release 2 fantastic albums in 1994, and it’s a toss up between which is better. They have surprisingly different sounds to them, but due to Frost’s further foray into Viking Metal, it fills a niche as the best Viking Metal album of 1994.

Frost is an incredibly well-played album especially in the world of Black Metal. Songs are approaching Progressive territory with how many changes they have, and there’s a great variety to the drumming as opposed to some of the other Black Metal of the time. Music is dense and often features acoustic instruments and keys backing the primary Metal ensemble. The acoustic guitars especially do a great job adding some extra melodies and a folky atmosphere.

One real problem here… it’s not really Viking Metal. It’s got the lyrical content and some of that folky feel, but overall, the music here is very much Black Metal. Another problem is the song Yggdrasil, which is an awful slog to get through… the rest of the album is strictly great material.

ENSLAVED Monumension

Album · 2001 · Black Metal
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lukretion
Exciting. This is, in a word, how I would describe Monumension, the 6th album of Norwegian Viking metal heavyweights Enslaved. Marking their 10th anniversary as a band, the album was the fruit of 1 month spent in the recording studio experimenting with song structures and arrangements, as the Norse were determined to stretch the boundaries of their sound beyond their black/death origins, continuing and amplifying the metamorphosis that they had started on previous records. And although Monumension is not yet a beautiful butterfly that has completely left the chrysalis, it shows flashes of Enslaved’s immense potential that the band will fully bring to fruition in later records.

The core idea at the heart of the album is simple: genre-bending experimentation. The roots of Enslaved’s sound are firmly set in extreme black/death metal, with fast-paced, aggressive riffs, brutal drumming, and lacerating growls. From early on, the band had started incorporating into their sound Nordic folk music influences, drawing heavily from Viking cultural and religious heritage. On Monumension, Enslaved further weave into their music influences from thrash and classic metal, as well as marked 1970s progressive rock aesthetics. The legacy of bands like Pink Floyd and King Crimson is apparent throughout the record and especially on tracks like “Convoys to Nothingness”, “Hollow Inside” (whose first half is almost an homage to Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd), “The Sleep: Floating Diversity - A Monument Part III” and “Outro: Self-Zero”. Elongated and meandering song structures, psychedelic vibes, Hammond organs, vocoders and other strange sonic experiments clash with double-bass drumming, growls and razor-sharp guitar tremolos, conjuring up a world within a world, disorientating the listeners and leaving them breathless.

It’s an alluring voyage the one that Enslaved invite the listeners to embark on. It’s not a voyage that everyone will enjoy. And there’s plenty of bumps and bruises along the road, as the Norwegians are still trying to find their feet and the sonic experiments are not always successful and occasionally backfire, like on the chaotic “Enemy I” or the unmemorable “Smirr”. But when the genius strikes, the music turns to gold and I am left in awe of the sheer brilliance of the ideas Enslaved put together on tracks like “Convoys to Nothingness”, “The Voices”, “Hollow Inside”, “The Cromlech Gate” and “The Sleep”.

But it’s the raw sense of fearless experimentation that is truly astonishing here. Other bands, with a similar musical heritage as Enslaved, were treading similar waters in those years, like Borknagar or Arcturus. With this album Enslaved outclasses the competition, not because Monumension is necessarily a superior product, but because of its boldness and audacity that leave me breathless and excited about this band still today, more than 20 years after the album’s initial release.

ENSLAVED Caravans to the Outer Worlds

EP · 2021 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Caravans To The Outer Worlds" is an EP release by Norwegian progressive black metal act Enslaved. The EP was released through Nuclear Blast in October 2021. It succeeds the release of the band´s 15th full-length studio album "Utgard" from October 2020, and features the same quintet lineup as the album. It´s not unusal for Enslaved to release EPs with additional non-album material. The two 2011 EPs "The Sleeping Gods" and "Thorn" are other examples of that.

"Caravans To The Outer Worlds" features 4 tracks and total playing time of 18:12. The opening title track is a progressive metal track, and it´s quite the catchy and memorable track, which could easily have been included on "Utgard" (2020). The track features everything you´d expect from a contemporary Enslaved song, like raspy/clean vocals, vintage keyboards/organ, 70s progressive/psychadelic rock influences, organic rhythmic playing, and of course a dose of atmospheric black metal. It´s one of the stronger and more remarkable tracks I´ve heard from them in a while. "Intermezzo I - Lönnlig Gudlig" follows and it´s a dark, brooding, and atmospheric instrumental.

"Ruun II - The Epitaph" is the third track of the EP. Although this one features clean vocals by keyboard player Håkon Vinje, it´s a continuation of the dark, gloomy, and almost psychadelic tinged style of the preceding track. It´s repetitive and hypnotic in nature, building an ominous atmosphere. The use of choirs and organic acoustic instruments deserve a mention here. "Intermezzo II - The Navigator" concludes the EP and sounds like Enslaved playing a Hawkwind song. Great driving psychadelic space rock. It´s no surprise that Enslaved pull it off with ease. At this point in their career it´s the most natural thing in the world to them.

Upon conclusion "Caravans To The Outer Worlds" is a high quality EP release by Enslaved. It´s less polished and slightly more experimental in nature than the material on "Utgard" (2020), and that approach suits Enslaved well. They´ve always been best when they added a bit of organic grit to their releases, and "Caravans To The Outer Worlds" is one such release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

ENSLAVED Caravans to the Outer Worlds

EP · 2021 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
ENSLAVED seems to have overcome its moniker as it has over the course of three decades been one of the most prolific and creative shapeshifters in all of extreme metal and in the year 2021, some thirty years after its formation in the icy cold Norwegian city of Haugesund, Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson and their constantly rotating cast of musical accompaniment are continuing to churn out more innovative and even currently relevant music.

A year after the band’s Scandinavian folk-infused progressive black metal offering “Utgard,” ENSLAVED is back with an EP’s worth of four new tracks that offer yet another take on the band’s already established mishmash of folkened black prog metal. ENSLAVED proves not only to be an astute long term survivor in the extreme metal world but maintains its popularity due to the fact that this band knows how to juxtapose the aforementioned ingredients and change things up just enough to keep things a bit different than what came before.

CARAVANS TO THE OUTER WORLDS is a short but sweet EP (ENSLAVED’s fourth overall not counting demos) which clocks in at only 18 minutes but offers four intense atmospheric prog and black metal tunes that continue to forge ahead into the future. On this EP, ENSLAVED joins the ranks of the more psychedelic black metal bands that look to the stars rather than confine themselves to the fjords with themes from the stars as well as lysergic organ runs and other space rock elements melding their way into the crunchy power chords and blackened prog workouts.

Wisely ENSLAVED sticks to its established sound on its full-length releases but isn’t afraid to experiment radically once in a while on these infrequent EP releases. Perhaps this is a testing ground to see how well this type of music is received but if the success of psychedelic black metal acts like Oranssi Pazuzu and Hail Spirit Noir are any indication, ENSLAVED has a pretty good chance of adapting its classic sounds to a new era of hybridized black metal that keeps morphing into the next phase of evolution.

For those more accustomed to ENSLAVED’s heavier sounds of yore ranging from the 90s black metal behemoths that culminated with “Mardraum” or the intricately designed black metal prog that ran from “Monumension” to “In Times,” CARAVANS TO THE OUTER WORLDS may be a bit of a disappointment due to the fact the clear emphasis is on the atmospheric and ethereal elements with only the heavier parts adding a bit of contrast. ENSLAVED has definitely mellowed out in recent years but that’s really not a bad thing at all considering how incredibly well this band crafts melodic folk-fueled catchiness with atmospheric and heavy contrasting elements.

Given that CARAVANS TO THE OUTER WORLDS is designed to take ENSLAVED on a journey into the world of space rock, i’m not really put off by the lack of metal heft in comparison to the classic years of yore. This is simply a really outstanding series of four tracks that actually leave me wanting more. This easily could’ve been extended into a full-length release and i for one would totally embrace this spacier side of ENSLAVED ever expanding persona. While purists will surely be left cold by this perceived wimping out of an aging metal band, i find this one to be quite a statement of expansiveness to continue to take ENSLAVED down roads never considered way back in the Viking theme days. While by no means ENSLAVED’s best works here, this is definitely an essential listening experience for true fans.

ENSLAVED Utgard

Album · 2020 · Progressive Metal
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Kev Rowland
As with virtually every band, Norwegian group Enslaved have been through line-up changes over the years, and indeed they now have a new drummer since the last album in Iver Sandøy, yet founders and childhood friends Ivar Bjørnson (guitars) and Grutle Kjellson (vocals) are still there, as they have been now for some 30 years (the band is completed by Arve Isdal, lead guitar, and Håkon Vinje, keyboards, vocals). They first came to prominence with a split release with Emperor all the way back in 1993, but like Ihsahn, they have now come a long way from those days, although even now they still look back to their roots. They may have been a death metal band at the beginning, but now they are firmly entrenched in a progressive metal vein of their own making.

Vocals switch between clean and gruff; the keyboards provide polish, the drums are all over the place, and the guitars never stop. They are incredibly tight, witness the ending to Homebound, which is chaotic and then suddenly it comes together and ends – one would not expect that unless they were watching the timer run down. There are times when the music is more Viking in its approach, with a feeling of monks in a monastery, others it is almost pop while we also have touches of black metal as well as death, all coming together in a progressive metallic album which sounds at times as if it is different bands, not just one. The pop keyboard introduction to Urjotun could be leading us into pop, and when the New Order-style bass comes in, one could be forgiven for not knowing this was a metal band at all. But gradually the menace makes its presence felt, and it becomes something way more dramatic and frightening.

This is not an album for those who want every song to be in the same vein as the previous one, as these guys are pushing throughout. “We have albums that are steps and we have some that are milestones,” Bjørnson says and Grutle nods in agreement. “I personally think ‘Utgard’ is a milestone”. Only time will tell if they are correct, but for now, Enslaved are refusing to rest on what has gone before and with their 15th studio album are still pushing boundaries of what is expected of them.

ENSLAVED Movies Reviews

ENSLAVED Live Retaliation

Movie · 2003 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
FMOTP
No reviews yet & only 3 ratings for the great ENSLAVED's 1st video production? To quote Will Smith, "That...is unacceptable." Live Retaliation is a very worthy representation of ENSLAVED live. The concert itself is a bit short, but the band shows its skill in playing their varied and fairly complex music. They play a good mix of their oldest songs and more recent ones; Monumension was the band's most recent album at the time.

The audio tracks are a very nice addition, for folks who don't own a lot of their records. Grutle doesn't interact extensively with the audience in concert, beyond introducing the songs & band members. However, that's a problem I have with the great majority of live concerts. The audio quality could be clearer at times, but I'm quibbling. If you love some progressive rock along with your extreme metal, nobody does it better than ENSLAVED. This is well worth your time and money!

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