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ENSLAVED

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Norway


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Enslaved biography
Formed in 1991 by a 17 year old Grutle Kjellson and a 13 year old Ivar Bj°rnson (the band's only two constant members and main creative force), Enslaved began life as part of Norway's blossoming black metal scene. Early releases such as Hordanes Land (also released as part of an infamous split with Emperor) and Vikingligr Veldi established the epic, majestic sound known as viking metal and gained the band a steady following within black metal circles. Their ferocious yet soaring black metal placed them at the forefront of their subgenre, yet their artistic ambitions would soon pull them in new directions. 2000's "Mardraum: Beyond the Within" began a trend of more ambitious, diverse and prog-influenced songwriting encorporated into their black metal style, one which has continued ever since. Influences from groups such as Yes and Pink Floyd have become increasingly evident on more recent Enslaved releases, somewhat alienating certain members of their devoted black metal fanbase but opening their doors to thousands of new fans. Though they remain epic, this new approach is epic in an entirely different manner and has additionally made them one of the leading prog-metal acts.



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Discography:
Hordanes Land, EP (1993)
Vikingligr Veldi, studio album (1994)
Frost, studio album (1994)
Eld, studio album (1997)
Blodhemn, studio album (1998)
Mardraum: Beyond the Within, studio album (2000)
Monumension, studio album (2001)
Below the Lights, studio album (2003)
Isa, studio album (2004)
Runn, studio album (2006)

Enslaved official website

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ENSLAVED shows & tickets


  • In Times on 5 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles on 6 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at Slim's, San Francisco on 7 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Atriarch + more at Hawthorne Theatre, Portland on 9 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver on 10 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Bell Witch + more at El Corazˇn, Seattle on 11 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + SubRosa + more at Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City on 13 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ghosts Of Glaciers + more at Summit Music Hall, Denver on 14 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at Mill City Nights, Minneapolis on 16 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved on 17 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Kosmograd + more at The Opera House, Toronto on 19 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at Foufounes ╔lectriques, Montreal on 20 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at Gramercy Theatre, New York on 21 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at Union Transfer, Philadelphia on 22 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD on 23 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved + YOB + Ecstatic Vision at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA on 24 Mar 2015
  • Enslaved at Circo Volador, Ciudad de MÚxico on 27 Mar 2015
  • Inferno Metal Festival 2015 on 1 Apr 2015
  • Roadburn Festival 2015 on 9 Apr 2015
  • Tongeren Metal Fest 2015 on 2 May 2015
  • Roskilde Festival 2015 on 1 Jul 2015
  • Eistnaflug on 8 Jul 2015
  • Ragnard Rock Fest 2015 on 17 Jul 2015
  • Brutal Assault XX on 5 Aug 2015
  • Bloodstock Open Air 2015 on 6 Aug 2015
  • ěyafestivalen 2015 on 12 Aug 2015
  • Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2015 on 12 Aug 2015
  • Enslaved + Grand Magus at The Marble Factory, Bristol on 23 Sep 2015
  • Enslaved and Grand Magus live at O2 Academy Islington on 24 Sep 2015
  • Enslaved + Grand Magus at O2 Academy Islington, London on 24 Sep 2015

ENSLAVED discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ENSLAVED top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 47 ratings
Vikingligr Veldi
1994
3.43 | 48 ratings
Frost
1994
3.44 | 39 ratings
Eld
1997
3.22 | 35 ratings
Blodhemn
1998
3.61 | 47 ratings
Mardraum: Beyond the Within
2000
4.06 | 52 ratings
Monumension
2001
4.09 | 82 ratings
Below The Lights
2003
4.18 | 172 ratings
Isa
2004
4.01 | 99 ratings
Ruun
2006
4.07 | 106 ratings
Vertebrae
2008
4.05 | 174 ratings
Axioma Ethica Odini
2010
4.00 | 185 ratings
Riitiir
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
In Times
2015

ENSLAVED Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ENSLAVED Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.33 | 3 ratings
Live Retaliation
2003
4.67 | 6 ratings
Return to Yggdrasill
2005

ENSLAVED Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ENSLAVED Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.60 | 4 ratings
Nema
1991
2.59 | 8 ratings
Yggdrasill
1992
3.07 | 14 ratings
Hordanes Land
1993
4.33 | 8 ratings
Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD
1993
3.18 | 20 ratings
The Sleeping Gods
2011
3.04 | 13 ratings
Thorn
2011

ENSLAVED Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Frost by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.43 | 48 ratings

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Frost
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Right from the getgo ENSLAVED were reinventing their sound as evidenced by the extreme change from their debut "Vikingligr Veldi" with its long and hypnotic black metal synthesized fury into the more standard second wave black metal on FROST that encompasses a more traditional aggressive sound that can be heard in the likes of Darkthrone and Emperor. The music here has also taken a leap in the progressiveness. Although the tracks are more aggressive and attempt to blend into the second wave of black metal more, it is also a step up from the debut album in how ENSLAVED can simultaneously blend in and blend out. Once again this unique band is proving that it is anything but the norm.

On FROST we get a more furious black metal approach with the inclusion of synthesized interludes and folk offerings to boot. The chord progressions are upped on the progometer as is the enjoyment factor. This second offering took me a little longer than most to appreciate because of the fact i got into ENSLAVED well after this was released, but as a rabid fan of the black metal scene i am quite enthralled by the prowess of delivery on this one. True it may not have hit me upon first listen and actually took longer than any ENSLAVED release to leave its impression but one day i suddenly found myself really in admiration of the musical delivery heard here.

Although ENSLAVED have been more known and appreciated for their prog adventures in the black metal world, it is here on FROST where the full fury of black metal can be heard with Trym Torson who is better known with Emperor is on full display with his percussive fury adding the depth of bombast that makes this album oh so satisfying. At this stage ENSLAVED were still very much into their primeval Viking metal that even then set them apart from other Viking metal bands that tended to dwell in the death metal camp. Any way you slice it, this is a decent and satisfying black metal release that early on proved that ENSLAVED were quite capable of delivering a new approach on every single album, albeit not fully realized until the 2000s. Perhaps one of my lesser favorite releases but it seems to me that every release in this prolific band's discography is essential.

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 Vikingligr Veldi by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.53 | 47 ratings

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Vikingligr Veldi
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars ENSLAVED set themselves apart from the rest of the black metal pack right from the getgo and continued to do so with their debut full-length release VIKINGLIGR VELDI. As the title suggests this is Viking metal in lyrical content while existing in the black metal realm musically. The lyrics are mostly in Icelandic (very closely related to Old Norse) and the lyrics of "Heimdalir" are actually in ancient Norwegian, however this IS black metal and even if you speak the languages I would be surprised if you could discern any intelligible meaning from the shrieks and grunts and tortured utterings if you spent the rest of your life trying to do so.

As with their EP "Hordanes Land" the album kicks off with a catchy little keyboard riff that remains the backbone of a massive fury of black metal madness. Although this debut is not totally in the progressive black metal realms that would fully unfold on "Monumension" it is clear by the track times here that the band were carving out a path where they could follow allowing them to unfold their ideas into a more progressive atmosphere. The first track clocks in at 11:31 and despite the band's progressive desires failing to fully measure up to the potential of the time-lengths, there is something of a satisfying result in that despite the ideas becoming repetitive, the keyboards are somewhat hypnotic and lull you into the groove which I find is good enough to keep me entertained. After becoming fully engrossed in it after a while, they suddenly change it up a bit and take you for another hypnotic spin. There are changes but they are subtle despite the aggressive fury occupying every measure and note.

With only five tracks that add up to almost 51 minutes of music, it is clear that ENSLAVED were interested in more sophisticated music than many of the second wave black metal artists. There is however much in common with those acts. The keyboard tracks remind me a lot of Emperor (in fact Tym Torson who plays drums here was in both bands), while the most aggressive ones of Darkthrone. Their sound, although somewhat unique, still sounds very much rooted in the black metal of the early 90s. It would take a few albums for them to really blossom into the totally unique act that they would become. I actually didn't like this album a whole lot upon first listen but after many listens it grew on me and it allowed me to pick up on the subtleties that don't really slap you in the face at first. The music satisfies all those primeval black metal needs but also has a bit more to it. I have grown to like this album more than I thought I ever would and there is a true feel of potential present here even though it hasn't been fully unleashed at this point.

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 Monumension by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.06 | 52 ratings

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Monumension
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Lear'sFool

5 stars One of the first progressive black metal albums, and still one of the best. Enslaved started off as a run-of-the-mill yet excellent viking metal band, in fact pioneering that Norse-centric take on black metal, who then dabbled in proggy elements on "Mardraum". When they then cut this follow up, they dove headfirst into prog complexity, creating a truly unique and spectacular take on their viking music. The harsh chaos of black metal gets crazier, and the band opens up to the idea of run ups and lulls. These are particularly dark and heavy, as per the expectations of their genre, separating them from those of death metal by a country mile. Kjellson's rasps are ever great and mind invading in their element, but it is just a shame almost all the album is English rather than the band's usual Old Norse. And the two guitarists just nail the technical and weighty aspects of the genre mix. "Convoys To Nothingness" is just a wonderful opener that shows off the band's style and grabs hold of a listener; it alone is a black metal classic and proof of this album's excellence. Highly recommended to all black metal and prog metal fans - this was the start of a whole new direction in black metal, and a masterpiece in its own right.

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 Thorn by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.04 | 13 ratings

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Thorn
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by thwok

3 stars I'm not a black metal fan generally, or its sibling subgenre death metal. The black metal label attached to a band would not be incentive enough for me to seek out their music. What makes Enslaved one of my favorite bands, along with Leprous and My Dying Bride to name two black metal-influenced bands, is how they've added other elements. They've adapted a very limited form of music into something interesting. I can't think of a better definition of "progressive." That being said, I wouldn't pick Thorn as a starting point for this band. I agree with the general consensus that The Sleeping Gods is a better release. The two songs here are a little too repetitive and ambient. Of the two, I like "Striker" more. I don't want to be unnecessarily harsh; Enslaved's music is always interesting. This is just isn't on the same level as much of their material; it doesn't exhibit the same creativity and progress as their other releases. Therefore, I'm going to give it three stars.

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 The Sleeping Gods by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.18 | 20 ratings

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The Sleeping Gods
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by thwok

4 stars The Sleeping Gods is one of Enslaved's best releases IMO because of its progressive quality. Isn't that why we're all here? It shows the band moving into previously unexplored territory. At the same time, it maintains Enslaved's typical high level of composing and performing. I give The Sleeping Gods an enthusiastic 4 stars. It's tough for me to pick out favorite tracks because Enslaved is always good, and there's less than a half hour of music here. I'm going with "Nordlys" and "The Sleeping Gods". They demonstrate Enslaved's willingness to try new things, which is probably the best thing about this EP. Some of the songs drag a bit, and I wouldn't pick The Sleeping Gods as the first Enslaved CD to listen to. However, it's still an excellent 4 star addition to a prog fan's collection.

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 Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1993
4.33 | 8 ratings

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Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars

EMPEROR

This debut EP by EMPEROR was originally released as a split album with Enslaved's debut EP Hordanes Land but has since been remastered and released independently and together with the demo "Wrath Of The Tyrant." On this release Ygg changed his name to the more familiar Ihsahn and Faust made his debut delivering us to evil with his impressive drumming skills. This would be the last effort for Mortiis who would jump ship only to pursue his dark ambient musical fetish.

On this debut EP by the mighty EMPEROR we hear the transition from the muddy live wire demo band to the in-transit zone between death, thrash and the second wave of black metal but starting here we get a more smoothed out madness with an atmospheric keyboard backing. The music is just as intense and brutal but the symphonic backing adds a rather calming feel that makes this seem a little less startling and less like it was recorded in the depths of hell than the previous demo. The real proof is by listening to the two tracks which appeared on the demo and were re-recorded for this EP. Those two tracks being "Wrath of the Tyrant" and "Night of the Graveless Souls." It's easy to hear how the full debut album "In The Nightshade Eclipse" picks up from here. This is a satisfying four song interlude in their discography that shouldn't be ignored.

ENSLAVED

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 Bj°rnson 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 "Allfß­r O­inn" 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.

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 Hordanes Land by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1993
3.07 | 14 ratings

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Hordanes Land
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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 Bj°rnson 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 "Allfß­r O­inn" 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.

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 Yggdrasill by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
2.59 | 8 ratings

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Yggdrasill
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars 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 "Allfß­r O­inn" 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."

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 Nema by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1991
1.60 | 4 ratings

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Nema
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars 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 Bj°rnson 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.

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 Axioma Ethica Odini by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.05 | 174 ratings

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Axioma Ethica Odini
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 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.

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