ENSLAVED

Black Metal / Progressive 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 3.75 | 29 ratings
Vikingligr Veldi
Black Metal 1994
ENSLAVED Frost album cover 3.83 | 30 ratings
Frost
Black Metal 1994
ENSLAVED Eld album cover 3.71 | 30 ratings
Eld
Black Metal 1997
ENSLAVED Blodhemn album cover 3.49 | 20 ratings
Blodhemn
Black Metal 1998
ENSLAVED Mardraum: Beyond the Within album cover 3.87 | 24 ratings
Mardraum: Beyond the Within
Black Metal 2000
ENSLAVED Monumension album cover 4.25 | 23 ratings
Monumension
Black Metal 2001
ENSLAVED Below the Lights album cover 4.30 | 31 ratings
Below the Lights
Black Metal 2003
ENSLAVED Isa album cover 4.20 | 46 ratings
Isa
Black Metal 2004
ENSLAVED Ruun album cover 3.91 | 31 ratings
Ruun
Black Metal 2006
ENSLAVED Vertebrae album cover 3.97 | 38 ratings
Vertebrae
Progressive Metal 2008
ENSLAVED Axioma Ethica Odini album cover 4.22 | 52 ratings
Axioma Ethica Odini
Progressive Metal 2010
ENSLAVED RIITIIR album cover 4.32 | 41 ratings
RIITIIR
Progressive Metal 2012
ENSLAVED In Times album cover 4.11 | 16 ratings
In Times
Progressive Metal 2015
ENSLAVED E album cover 4.27 | 14 ratings
E
Progressive Metal 2017
ENSLAVED Utgard album cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
Utgard
Progressive Metal 2020

ENSLAVED EPs & splits

ENSLAVED Hordanes Land album cover 3.79 | 12 ratings
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 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 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 3.07 | 3 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 Utgard

Album · 2020 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Few metal bands keep me interested over the long haul so that i eagerly await their next release more than Norway’s ENSLAVED. This extreme metal band from Bergen has been slaying the metal world like a band of restless Vikings for almost 30 years now after having formed in Haugesund, Norway and having delivered 17 albums to date with an uncanny ability to maintain a high quality of product with only a a very few hiccoughs such as the somewhat generic “Blodhemn” or the stuck in a rut “In Times” but even those albums weren’t bad at all and simply paled in comparison to the stronger albums that surrounded them. Debuting with the first release “Vikingligr Veldi,” ENSLAVED has been instrumental in straddling the world of black metal, Viking metal and folk metal while adding increasing elements of progressive rock all the while finding innovative ways of changing things up just enough to keep their music fresh yet familiar.

Following the strong 2017 release “E,” the band returns with its 17th full-length studio album UTGARD which continues the never-ending themes and stories mined from Norse mythology. This anglicized term from the original Útgarðar refers to a formidable giant featured in the myths where Thor and Loki compete in rigged competitions held in the Outyards. It seems ENSLAVED are in no danger of running out of inspiration from these ancient tales and musically speaking sound as strong as ever. With a stronger focus on traditional folk melodic developments and a more egalitarian mix of clean and growly vocals, UTGARD is perhaps ENSLAVED’s most successful attempt at fusing the black, Viking and folk sounds with classic elements of 70s prog which includes beautiful atmospheric sweeps, keyboard drenched melodic scaffolding and occasional symphonic orchestrated lushness. While time signature complexities seem to have been tamped down, a few unorthodox angularities find their way into the mix. UTGARD in many ways focuses more on the melodic stampede of sound rather than sprawling prog behemoths and looks back to ideas gestated from the 90s along with more modern musical developments.

The opening “Fires In The Dark” wastes no time setting the tone of UTGARD with folk melodies, ritualistic chants and classic folk metal accoutrements before unleashing the black metal bombast which has been a staple of ENSLAVED’s signature sound since day one. “Jettegryta” showcases a much stronger sense of battle call backings in the form of keyboard excesses that create a perfect counterpoint to the extreme heavy metal riffing which at times such as in “Sequence” harken to the classic metal years of grooves mined from Judas Priest and Iron Maiden only teased into splendiferous Viking epic tales that include lush atmospheric extras and the call and response vocal efforts of the legendary growls of Grutle Kjellson with the suave clean contrast of Håkon Vinje. With the prog workouts are less and the metal gallops turned up a few notches, UTGARD is noticeable different than prior efforts from the start and remain that way til the very last notes of the spooky melodic touches of “Distant Seasons” and with a classic LP album running time of only shy of 45 minutes doesn’t outstay its welcome.

While prog has been a prominent feature of ENSLAVED’s agenda dating back to 2001’s “Monumension” when it became the dominant feature, on UTGARD this team of musical Vikings tends to look past the mere cliche constructs of the past and forges ahead into different prog related territories most noticeably on the the Krautrock inspired “Urjotun” which follows the even stranger two-minute “Utgardr” which teases out a Norse poetic prose accompanied by a creepy summoning of spectral sounds that emerge from places you’d probably best avoid. On “Urjotun” however ENSLAVED delves into the world of Neu! inspired motorik and adapts it nicely to UTGARD’s already established folk / prog / black metal touches. Songs also excel in brevity with only two exceeding six minutes.

With so many long established metal acts falling into the expected traps of burning out, ENSLAVED never fails to surprise me with yet another excellent release that sounds like no other even within their own canon. While few ENSLAVED albums reach the height of perfection, almost all race past the excellence mark with ease. UTGARD is absolutely no exception at all and changes things up in unexpected ways once again as this band sallies forth into its 30 year mark of Teutonic rage wrapped up in musical sui generis. With this 17th album ENSLAVED proves once again why they remain firmly perched near the top of the metal hierarchy as they inch closer to status of patron sainthood in metal circles as they seem utterly incapable of substandard musical deliveries for even a scant moment of time. It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite album by this great band since each one excels on its own merits and never wimps out despite its members getting on with their years and the greatest gift of all is that the flame of creativity only grows brighter with each release. Perhaps UTGARD will not entice new blood into the clan but it is guaranteed to please long time followers who relish the crafty balance of what came before with new innovation. ENSLAVED has another winner on its hands.

ENSLAVED E

Album · 2017 · Progressive Metal
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voila_la_scorie
One of the classic black metal bands and a favourite of Sam Dunn of Banger Films (“A Headbanger’s Journey”, “Flight 666”, “Rush – Beyond the Lighted Stage”) is Enslaved. My first venture into their catalogue was their seventh album, “Below the Lights” because it was mentioned on a list of best metal albums as well as best progressive albums. I enjoyed it enough to consider a second purchase, and though “In Times” was next on my list, along with “Frost”, I heard so many good things about “E” that I went for this one. Money well spent!

I understand well from what I’ve heard that Enslaved very early on expressed their progressive proclivities and that in the new millennium they expanded their sound into post rock. This album here expresses both of those faces of musical styles quite liberally. In fact, while I love the album as an Enslaved album, it was very easy for me to get into it because I could hear similarities to bands whose music I have already an attanchment to: Opeth, Anciients, Motorpsycho, and Devin Townsend. I also read that one member of Seven Impale joined Enslaved so that’s another bonus as far as I’m concerned.

Of course there’s the quintessential over-distorted guitar sound, speed, demonic vocals, and tenseness that comes with black metal, but also beauty and contrasts. The recording quality is superb, proving that black metal can sound magnificent once it swallows its lo-fi pride and goes for sonic brilliance.

A lot of old school extreme metal albums sound awesome but have little variety in their sound. When I think of old classics from my early teens like “Screaming for Vengeance”, “Number of the Beast”, or “Mob Rules”, each song was treated like an individual piece of work and these albums had variety. No two songs sounded alike. So it’s a great surprise and pleasure to listen to an album like this where once again I can feel that each song provides its own individual stamp on the album rather than just being a barrage of blast beats and tidal waves of distortion. With an album like this and a couple of other 21st century black metal and albums I have heard, I really think black metal has progressed and grown into an art rather than just a statement.

In the New Year, I will most certainly be looking to add two or three more Enslaved albums to my collection, possibly more.

ENSLAVED The Sleeping Gods

EP · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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FMOTP
The Sleeping Gods is one of Enslaved's best releases IMO, because of its variety and innovation. Aren't skill and creativity why we're here at MMA? It shows the band moving into previously unexplored territory. At the same time, it maintains Enslaved's typical high level of composing and performing quality. I give The Sleeping Gods an enthusiastic 4 stars. Enslaved doesn't put out junk, so this whole CD is quite listenable.

For those who aren't as familiar with Enslaved, "Heimvegen" is an fine, representative place to start. However, I'm going with "Nordlys" and "The Sleeping Gods". They strongly demonstrate Enslaved's customary willingness to try new things, which is probably the best thing about this EP. Some of the songs like "Synthesis" drag on a bit, and I wouldn't pick The Sleeping Gods as the first Enslaved CD to listen to. However, it's still an excellent addition to collection, if innovative metal is your cup of tea. thwok | 4/5 | 2014-9-6

ENSLAVED Frost

Album · 1994 · Black Metal
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FMOTP
Enslaved's FROST is not music that will appeal to everyone, or every metal fan. I love Enslaved, the most creative BM band on the planet, so I'll admit to being more than normally biased. This album has a couple of flaws. The sound quality is sometimes rough, especially when it comes to the drums. The occasional keyboards, when they take the lead, sound a little cheap. It's hard to distinguish guitar from bass, but that's stereotypical production for this kind of metal. Let's be honest; sound quality's not why we listen to albums.

However, FROST is a significant move forward for the band, compared to their less mature earlier releases. The longer tracks justify their length for a change. The album's title and cover artwork perfectly suit the music; this is a cold and aggressive record. If you have any appreciation for the black branch of extreme metal, this should be an essential listen for you. FROST is a major development for Enslaved, and one of their finest releases.

ENSLAVED E

Album · 2017 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"E" is the 14th full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive black metal act Enslaved. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in October 2017. It´s the successor to "In Times" from 2015 and there´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as keyboard player/(clean) vocalist Herbrand Larsen has left Enslaved and has been replaced by Håkon Vinje. It´s actually the first lineup change since "Isa (2004)" so Enslaved have enjoyed quite a few years and album releases with a steady lineup.

Stylistically the material on "E" continue the progressive black metal sound that Enslaved have played and developed upon over now many years and albums, but it particularly has many similarities to RIITIIR (2012) and "In Times (2015)", which is of course only natural, as they are the two direct predecessors to this release. So the progressive elements of the band´s sound are dominant, while their black metal side is more subdued in the soundscape. The change on the clean vocal spot doesn´t make a major impact as Vinje doesn´t have a voice that is much different from Larsen´s ditto (they both have pretty regular non distinct sounding voices and vocal styles), and the vocal melodies haven´t changed much either. Grutle Kjellson predominantly uses his raspy black metal vocal style but occassionaly uses a more death metal type growling vocal style, so the vocal department of the album is fairly diverse.

The instrumental part of the music can be described as varied too. Heavy riffs, mellow atmospheric sections, guitars harmonies, skillfully played guitar solos, a solid rhythm section, which mostly keeps a mid-paced tempo, but occasionally speeds things up, and an omnipresence of keyboards. Predominantly organ and mellotron/string sounds. The material are generally well written and quite intriguing with great dynamic between mellow sections and louder more heavy sections. The album features an epic atmosphere and Enslaved cleverly navigate the listener through both dark and lighter emotions. The album features 6 tracks and a full playing time of 49:45 minutes, but it´s recommedable to seek out the limited edition version which features the two bonus tracks "Djupet" and "What Else Is There?". The latter is a cover of fellow countrymen Röyksopp and it´s interesting to hear how well Enslaved handle what is originally an electronic oriented pop song. "Djupet" is a great quality track too.

The musicianship is as always on a high level and Enslaved have clearly reached a point in their career where they are very confident in their performances. "E" features a clearly defined and powerful sounding production. Where the two predecessors featured relatively similar sounding production jobs, "E" features a more "dry" and clear sounding production. It´s a well sounding album but a slightly more organic sounding production would probably have suited the material a little better.

Upon conclusion "E" is another high quality release by Enslaved, which as such isn´t surprising given the many, many high quality releases in the band´s discography, but to my ears it´s a slight step down from the last couple of releases. Probably mostly because I don´t hear much development (the saxophone on "Hiindsiight" is a nice progressive element though) or that many standout tracks on the album (I´d mention the two tracks "Storm Son" and "Hiindsiight", which bookend the album, as some of the highlights), but on the other hand it´s a consistent album both when it comes to quality and style. A 4 star (80%) 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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