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Enslaved Hordanes Land album cover
3.15 | 28 ratings | 6 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Slaget I Skogen Bortenfor / Prologr / Slaget (13:10)
2. Allfadr Odhinn (7:50)
3. Balfor / Andi Fara / Epilog (9:49)

Total Time: 30:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Grutle Kjellson / vocals, bass guitar
- Ivar Bjшrnson / guitars, keyboards
- Trym Torson / drums

Releases information

Split with Emperor's self-titled Candlelight Records (October 1993)

Thanks to ivansfr0st for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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ENSLAVED Hordanes Land ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

ENSLAVED Hordanes Land reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Hordanes Land is an EP released in 1993 the year before Enslavedīs album debut Vikingligr Veldi was released. I had some positive things to say about Vikingligr Veldi in my review of that album, even though I eventually concluded that it is an album only real fans will appreciate and therefore gave it 2 stars. Hordanes Land is an even more imature release than Vikingligr Veldi and understandebly so when you know the young age of the members in the band.

The music is typical early Enslaved black metal, which means long atmospheric black metal songs, drawn out, repetitive and very noisy. The production is almost unbearably bad. Itīs hard to hear what is happening through the wall of noise. There are some simple synth playing here and there like on Vikingligr Veldi which helps create the atmosphere.

The musicians seems to be incredibly weak and sloppy but Iīm sure itīs meant to be. Many early black metal albums seem very primitive and this is no exception. Itīs normally on purpose though.

I donīt enjoy this one bit to be honest and I will not recommend this to anyone but the absolute completist or fans of early Norwegian black metal. I find it horrible and thatīs not because I donīt like extreme metal, this is just too primitive and sloppy for me. 1 star and no recommendation from me.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Hordanes Land' - Enslaved (7/10)

An EP that is possibly more notable for it's inclusion on a split effort with black metal legends Emperor, Enslaved's 'Hordanes Land' shows the band playing their earliest style; a symphonically influenced sound of lo-fi black metal. While the band would arguably go on to create much more fulfilling works with their later, more progressively inclined music, the tracks on this EP stand as being some of the more memorable pieces of the early 90's Norweigian black metal scene. By incorporating some sparse acoustic guitars, keyboard instrumentation and some more thoughtful guitar sections than you might typically find on a classic black metal album, 'Hordanes Land' should instantly appeal to a fan of the black metal style looking for something a little bit different from the technical onslaught of the genre.

While 'Hordanes Land' certainly has more of a forward-thinking sound to it than most it's contemporaries, make no mistake that this is a black metal album. Rapid bursts of guitar fury typically emphasize energy and power over technical achievement, and there are the typically harsh vocal snarls of frontman Grutle Kjellson to contend with in the mix. Although this maintains a pretty typical sound for black metal at it's core, it's what the band adds to the traditional formula that makes things interesting. There are some subtle sections of acoustic guitar thrown in at the right moments, and alot of different keyboard arrangements to give the music an added, epic flair.

The first track 'Slaget I Skogen Bortenfor' opens with some pretty fake sounding choral and symphonic arrangements as the traditional black metal fury erupts into something more conventional. With the speed and intensity in check under the blistering vocal display of Kjellson, the same fake symphonic tones are used, but to a surprisingly good effect. The second track 'Allfadr Odinn' revolves around the great god of Norse mythology, and has an almost medieval sound from it's use of haunting organ tones. The most keyboard heavy track on 'Hordanes' however is the epic song 'Balfar,' which does a very good job of showing the band's growing viking metal direction. This is certainly the highlight of the album, and unlike much black metal which appears to be an unrelenting assault, Enslaved makes 'Balfar' into a song of dynamic, throwing in heavier, darker sections, and lighter acoustic atmospherics to build the tension.

To the fans of Enslaved's later work, 'Hordanes Land' may sound a tad too unpolished and rough. Compared to their more recent material, it certainly is, but the haunting atmosphere and striking composition is in check. While it may be Emperor that gets the credit for introducing all of the symphonic elements to the realm of black metal, Enslaved shows here that they can do it just as well.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars 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.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Three lengthy songs of epic, dynamic black metal make up Enslaved's debut EP, executed with above average proficiency, thematic alertness, and masterful orchestration of pace according to conceptual context. These grand songs inspired by tales of secret wisdom and dark mystery derived from Scand ... (read more)

Report this review (#502985) | Posted by Grond | Sunday, August 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Interesting.......... Originally released on CD as the last half of this now infamous/legendary EMPEROR/ENSLAVED split CD (an absolute must-have split CD), the three ENSLAVED songs was a sharp contrast to EMPEROR's violent sonic attacks. It was allready then pretty obvious that ENSLAVED was no ... (read more)

Report this review (#201189) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is Enslaved's first real mini lp and it's with this raging beacon of vikinging metal that grabbed the attention of the metal worldl Hordane's Land is some primitive black metal that's taken to a new level by the simplistic yet eerily evocative keyboards. These guys were hardly out of the g ... (read more)

Report this review (#112938) | Posted by gradylee | Tuesday, February 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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