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A DME & MCD presentation by arrangement with NMC Live
10th March 2024
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.
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.
“I had a pretty clear sense of direction with ‘Utgard’,” says guitarist and songwriter Ivar Bjørnson. “It really felt like the start of something. It felt like we were taking quite a leap into the next album so that's where the idea for the EP came up, because that's a format you can play around with more. So, there were two main songs, and there were two experimental tracks. But it also worked conceptually, like a launch from one orbit to another. It just felt natural to have that sort of slingshot.”