Enslaved is a notable name within the sphere of Norwegian extreme metal, born from the collaborative effort of Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson in the year 1991. This metal powerhouse, presently stationed in Bergen, has undergone countless lineup transformations throughout its existence, yet the enduring pillars remain Bjørnson and Kjellson. The current ensemble incorporates the talents of lead guitarists Arve Isdal, and Håkon Vinje on keyboard and vocals, along with Iver Sandøy’s drumming finesse.
The band’s sound heavily leans on the Viking cultural and spiritual heritage of Norway, with numerous lyrics referencing Norse mythology. Their initial sound resonated with traditional black metal but evolved over time into a more progressive tone. A landmark moment in their history came in 2014 when the Norwegian government commissioned the band to create a musical tribute for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution. This composition later became the studio album “Skuggsjá” released in 2016. As of March 2023, the band has released sixteen full-length studio albums, the latest being “Heimdal”.
Evolution of Enslaved’s Sound
Enslaved’s musical journey has been one of continuous evolution and experimentation. Their early years were marked by a black metal sound, but by 1993, they began to incorporate more unconventional song structures into their music. The band’s sound soon grew beyond the confines of the black metal genre, with several tracks featuring the mellotron, a unique keyboard instrument.
A pivotal turning point in their musical journey was the release of the albums “Isa” in 2004 and “Ruun” in 2006. These albums marked a clear departure from their earlier sound, introducing dynamic shifts that made their music more diverse and layered. Enslaved’s tenth studio album “Vertebrae”, released in 2008, was acclaimed for its diverse sounds and was even named the album of the year by Terrorizer magazine.
Despite their success, Enslaved didn’t rest on their laurels. They continued to innovate and experiment with their sound, resulting in the release of their eleventh studio album, “Axioma Ethica Odini”, in 2010. This album and the subsequent EPs “The Sleeping Gods” and “Thorn” solidified their reputation as a band that wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of extreme metal, continually offering fans a unique and dynamic listening experience. See more on their website.