Highlights

Even in the most primeval stages of their storied career, ENSLAVED was so much more than just music. Born on the outskirts of the infamous upheaval of teenage arsonists more commonly associated with a genre called Norwegian Black Metal, the Bergen based Vikings shared the inspiration and production ideals – yet steered clear of the non-musical dramas that have overshadowed so much of the artistic value from this movement. Shaking the very foundations of the young scene as early as 1993 with their iconic split release alongside fellow black wizards EMPEROR, they positively invented the term and art form Viking Metal with their icy monuments Vikingligr Veldi and, of course, the immortal splendor that is Frost” and Eld.

Never a sucker for stagnation, ENSLAVED explored uncharted progressive and psychedelic territories even back in the “grim nineties” – placing them in a unique position of both bearers of tradition as well as explorers into the unknown. Now, almost 30 years after changing the name of their adolescent death metal combo PHOBIA and advancing towards a more frostbitten and pagan black metal dirge, ENSLAVEDhas become a worldwide phenomenon, enthralling their listeners with music at once grim and sublime, effortlessly proving that it is indeed not a problem at all to sound like the sophisticated love child of KING CRIMSON and BATHORY.

Enter Utgard. Enter a record brimful with northern magic. Let all those other bands sing about Thor’s mighty hammer and poor Odin hanging from that tree in miserable weather conditions. ENSLAVED are looking behind the mirror, tracing the origins of the well-known fables of the northern world back into each and every one of us. “Utgard can be countless things,” Grutle Kjellson states. “An image, a metaphor, an esoteric location. From Norse mythology we know it as a landscape where the giants dwell, where the gods of Asgard have no control. On a psychological level it can represent the spheres of sleep, dreams or lucid dreams; the outer borders of your own consciousness and what lies beyond them in the subconsciousness. Utgard represents something that is hard to master completely, perhaps impossible. This something it dangerous, chaotic, uncontrollable. Yet there is something enchanting about a place like this. It is where madness, creativity, humor and chaos dwell.”

Their new album is a journey into and through scary Utgard. Sounds dark? You betcha! “Utgard” shows ENSLAVED both unleashed and thought-through, a lethal combination unfurling a potential that’s easily rekindling the furor of their early works while dancing gracefully through their most ambitious, most haunting and most musical tunes yet. A contradiction? Life itself is a contradiction. And yet we all live to prove it wrong. “Utgard can be a very scary place, but that’s exactly what this album is about,” Grutle says. “Conquering fear and living with the beings found in this place.”

 

Radiating News

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