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 3.75 | 37 ratings
Frost
Black Metal 1994
ENSLAVED Eld album cover 3.75 | 34 ratings
Eld
Black Metal 1997
ENSLAVED Blodhemn album cover 3.56 | 24 ratings
Blodhemn
Black Metal 1998
ENSLAVED Mardraum: Beyond the Within album cover 3.90 | 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 4.21 | 52 ratings
Isa
Black Metal 2004
ENSLAVED Ruun album cover 3.96 | 36 ratings
Ruun
Black Metal 2006
ENSLAVED Vertebrae album cover 4.00 | 43 ratings
Vertebrae
Progressive Metal 2008
ENSLAVED Axioma Ethica Odini album cover 4.24 | 58 ratings
Axioma Ethica Odini
Progressive Metal 2010
ENSLAVED RIITIIR album cover 4.30 | 51 ratings
RIITIIR
Progressive Metal 2012
ENSLAVED In Times album cover 4.18 | 25 ratings
In Times
Progressive Metal 2015
ENSLAVED E album cover 4.30 | 22 ratings
E
Progressive Metal 2017
ENSLAVED Utgard album cover 4.22 | 18 ratings
Utgard
Progressive Metal 2020
ENSLAVED Heimdal album cover 4.07 | 7 ratings
Heimdal
Progressive Metal 2023

ENSLAVED EPs & splits

ENSLAVED Hordanes Land album cover 3.79 | 17 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 3.61 | 10 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 Opeth / Enslaved album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Opeth / Enslaved
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 Heimdal

Album · 2023 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Heimdal" is the sixteenth full-length studio album by Norwegion progressive black metal act Enslaved. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in March 2023. It´s the successor to "Utgard" from 2020, although the two full-length studio albums are bridged by the 2021 "Caravans To The Outer Worlds" EP. The title track from the EP is also included on "Heimdal". There have been no lineup changes since "Utgard", but keyboard player Håkon Vinje sings less clean vocals than before, and drummer Iver Sandøy sings more. They have relatively similar voices, so it´s not something most people may notice, but when you know, you´ll hear it.

While "Utgard" was probably one of the most polished albums in Enslaved´s discography, "Heimdal" is one of their more diverse and experimental releases. The basis of the band´s sound is still progressive black metal with Norse mythology/Viking related lyrics, but they´ve branched out for now many years and albums, and "Heimdal" adds another layer of experimentation to their sound. On most tracks you´ll find the tried and true Enslaved formula of atmopsheric yet heavy progressive riffs and rhythms, beautiful lead guitar work, epic keyboards and clean vocal passages, but also the raspy black metal screams of Grutle Kjellson and more "regular" black metal parts. But on a few tracks (or on parts on tracks) Enslaved have opted to challenge themselves and their audience.

"Congelia" is the most standout example as it´s almost like listening to a black metal version of a Hawkwind track. It´s repetitive, slow building, driving, psychedelic, and feels like it just goes on for 8 minutes with the same riff being played. That´s not entirely true though, as there are riff changes throughout the song. While the premise may sound a little tedious, "Congelia" actually turns out to be one of the most intriguing and innovative tracks on "Heimdal". Another one is the atmospheric "The Eternal Sea". "Caravans To The Outer Worlds" is a standout track too, but I already praised that song in my review of the EP where it is culled from.

"Heimdal" features a clear, detailed, but also heavy sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. Personally I found "Utgard" a bit too polished, and thankfully Enslaved have found a better balance between the epic clean parts of their music and the more heavy and raw on "Heimdal". For that you also need a sound production which allows that, and this production makes the material shine, like the best sound productions are meant to.

Upon conclusion it´s nothing less than amazing that a band like Enslaved with their sixteenth full-length studio album still sound as relevant as they did in the early 90s, when they first hit the scene. Successful musical changes throughout the years, and minor tweaks to their their sound have probably kept them alive and relevant all these years, and it´s not neccesarily a formula which works for all artists. Enslaved obviously have an open minded audience though, or have grown one over the years, who accept that they´ve grown and don´t play the same version of viking black metal they initially did. If they keep releasing quality music like this, I can´t see them stopping in the near future, and hopefully we can look forward to many, many more releases from them. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

ENSLAVED Heimdal

Album · 2023 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
ENSLAVED seems to have achieved a sort of metal immortality having survived the battle field for over three decades now and consistently releasing one quality album after another with no end in site. The band is back three years after “Utgard” for another black / Viking / progressive metal adventure with another interesting and unique variation on the progressive black metal sounds that have been churning about since 2001’s “Monumension.” HEIMDAL is the sixteenth album from this Norwegian metal powerhouse and the title refers to a god in Norse mythology who is the son of Odin and nine mothers. Now how exactly does that work? Those crazy Scandinavians!

This album features six brand spanking new tracks and the title track of the “Caravans To The Outer Worlds” EP which served as a holding place between “Utgard” and HEIMDAL. The album clocks in at 48 minutes plus and features a more beefed up black metal heft after the folk fueled “Utgard.” In fact in many ways HEIMDAL echoes back to the early 2000s sounding as if it was crafted somewhere between “Below The Lights” and “Isa.” For any diehard fan of ENSLAVED, this album won’t exactly take you somewhere completely new but rather does what virtually every ENSLAVED album exceeds at and that would be taking you on a familiar musical ride that continues the progressive black metal paradigm of the last 20 years and offers new twists and turns.

In the case of HEIMDAL we get a mix of crushing black metal guitar riffing, Grutle Kjellson’s expected raspy enunciations with the contrasting shift into clean vocals as well as a spooky atmospheric backdrop that offers some very tripped out psychedelic keyboard parts from time to time. On the proggy side of the equation HEIMDAL offers the usual interesting compositional constructs with several tracks sailing beyond the 7-minute mark with the closing title track being the longest. Still sounding like no other band on the scene, HEIMDAL chugs along with the usual black metal bombast all teased out with extended progressive expansiveness including the occasional clean vocal led acoustic strum-a-thon that makes me consider a bit of a Viking interpretation of Pink Floyd.

Perhaps the most glaring differentiation from previous works is the use of keyboards which offers some interesting contrapuntal contrasts to the usual black metal and mellower clean vocal segments. Sometimes they are straight out of the 60s psychedelic rock playbook only set to the thundering roar of Norwegian mythological narrations. Another feature that i’m not remembering very prominent in previous ENSLAVED albums is the use of call and response in the form of an all male beauty and beast tradeoff with raspy utterances ceding to clean vocal tenderness and back again. Having well kept up with 21st century standards ENSLAVED continues to imbue a stellar production job that allows all the musical motifs to shine like a diamond in the rough.

Perhaps one could accuse of ENSLAVED of playing it safe and not taking any major risks but it is quite common for well established bands to deviate from their formula only to lose their fanbase and never really recover. ENSLAVED has navigated the turbulent waters of the decades by playing its cards strategically and by offering a familiar sound while changing things up enough to keep things from being a cookie cutter approach. In other words ENSLAVED is in it for the long haul and with 16 studio albums, 4 EPs and 32 years in existence, it seems this band is in no danger of burning out any time soon and continues to releases satisfying and enthralling albums. HEIMDAL is no exception to this rule and although i was a bit underwhelmed upon first listen, a few more spins has revealed new angles to perceive. Another winner for ENSLAVED.

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 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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