In true Enslaved fashion, the Bergen voyagers’ 16th album, Heimdal, is both a departure and a communion with roots forged over three decades ago in the turbulent birth throes of Norway’s black metal scene. Founded in 1991 by the then precociously young Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson, Enslaved were determined to set out on a different course from their Satanic, church-burning peers, turning their attention towards Viking lore and writing the majority of the lyrics for their 1994 debut album, Vikingligr Veldi, in Icelandic for its proximity to Old Norse.
If subsequent albums, Frost and Eld – spelling out the dynamic, combinative properties of ice and fire – remain incandescent marker points for Norway’s black metal scene, they were signposts too. Contained within their fevered, sloshing riffs and pomp-infused atmospheres were swells of anticipation and an embryonic sense of destiny. They were tantalising glimpses of the wide-open spaces that have become Enslaved’s guiding principle as they’ve come to straddle the extreme and progressive worlds, with their restless spirit the source of an ongoing journey of wide-eyed discovery.
2020’s Utgard album was the beginning of a new phase for the band, delving deeper into the esoteric nature of Nordic mythology, but finding more precise jump-off points for a leap into the unknown. More streamlined than its multi-layered predecessors, In Times and E, if only to prise open new expanses to explore, its ruminations on the shadowy, titular land of the Norse Jotun ice giants found parallels with the psychological states of the unconscious, and the pilgrimage into our own hearts of darkness that’s the start of the route to all self-knowledge. Of course, even themes of introspection were transformed into kaleidoscopic sonic adventurism, ranging from blackened, frostbitten charges, through lush, billowing, groove-bolstered updrafts to view-above-the-cloudline vistas and even dives into syncopated, krautrock-inspired wormholes.
For Enslaved, each stage of a journey plants a seed for the next. After 2021’s interim EP, Caravans To The Outer Worlds, Heimdal offers another tangential act of discovery, another embarkation point for a solemn, expectant and exhilarating passage through the realms of the senses.
Heimdal is reflection of paths travelled, a promise of a new beginning, and a rite of passage between the two. Truly an album for all times.
Posted: November 09, 2023
The new 16-date run will take place in March 2024, taking the band across 10 different countries. Support on the road will come from Svalbard and Wayfarer.
Today, Enslaved are proud to release their latest avant-garde creation, Heimdal.
Enslaved have released a new single and video from Heimdal, their 16th studio album due out on March 3rd 2023.
Posted: December 21, 2022
Left-field metal luminaries Enslaved have revealed a single and video for 'Caravans to the Outer Worlds (Live from The Otherworldly Big Band Experience)'