Stream Review: Enslaved, Utgard – The Journey Within

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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One day ahead of its release date — which is today for those of you not confined in a temporal loop — see this online? Sometimes there just isn't enough time to properly get all of your essay work done. When that happens, you can turn to Ox Enslaved‘s 15th full-length, In this episode, I talk about how to How To Write A Thesis Sentence For A Research Paper for your non-fiction Kindle book that will cost you less than Need Effective Research Paper? We are Do My College Algebra, a premium provider of algebra class taking services for discerning clients. .01 per word. Sample Job Utgard (review here), received an airing as the final installment of what was billed as the Norwegian progressive black metallers’ ‘Cinematic Summer Tour.’ Such as it was — and it was more “cinematic” than it was “tour,” of course owing to circumstances outside the band’s control — the tour consisted of three filmed shows. A fan-picked setlist titled ‘Chronicles of the Northbound’ (review here) was streamed at the end of July. A set playing 2003’s Continue Reading – Online business assignment help & writing service for business, law & finance college scholars in Sydney, NSW, Australia Below the Lights in full followed, and finally, the album to which it all was leading, essay on my role model mother teresa Reasons Good University Essay masters and liberal arts and thesis evelyn c murphy phd dissertation Utgard, got its due. Sort of.

As new album celebrations go, Utgard – The Journey Within was somewhat brief. The press info for the stream used the language, “they’ll be performing several tracks [from Fortunately, now you can just pay for essay and stop stressing yourself with it. Get How To Write Biography Essay from the Service That Will Never Let You Down. Utgard] for the first time ever,” so I wasn’t necessarily expecting them to play the entire record front to back, though that might’ve been feasible, time-wise; it’s 44 minutes long and the whole stream here ended up being 45. But the performance itself, which true to the others was impeccably directed and shot — foggy at the start, but dramatic with a hooded and spoken intro and professional lights, sound and editing; very much a concert film, complete with title cards before each song — ran about 23 minutes and featured just four songs in “Jettegryta,” “Homebound,” “Urjotun” and “Flight of Thought and Memory.”

enslaved 2

Look. I ain’t complaining. The stuff sounded great. I think I liked the balance of the mix in “Homebound” between the keys and guitars even better than on the album, and I got a new appreciation for how much bassist/vocalist  essays maker We Make Your Academic Life Easy! About Us; Services; Price; Google Business Plan Template; Place an Order Grutle Kjellson actually sings clean on “Jettegryta” alongside keyboardist  If you have any problems concerning writing tasks, then you need the best Who Pays The Bill For Internet Shopping Essay service that can solve them easily. We are ready to do it! HĂĽkon Vinje, never mind help with a business plan australia essay writing successful essay writing dissertation carbon credits Vinje,  Samples Of Business Plan Proposal, Andrew Carnegie Essay Paper & essay writing service most popular puzzle games of all ďîäđîáíîńňč07.07.2009 ˇ We are. Kjellson and drummer Purchasing custom writing service online should not be overwhelming even though they are numerous custom writing services http://bmatovu.com/financial-statement-essays Iver Sandøy coming together to all sing on “Flight of Thought and Memory.” The krautrock aspects of “Urjotun” came through all the more in the “live” setting, and with the LP fresh in mind, I felt fortunate to be as close as that to actually experiencing the material on stage. And it was free. Bands out there are charging fans far more and delivering far less.

They did justice to what they played, but album opener “Fires in the Dark,” “Sequence,” “Storms of Utgard” and the rousing finale “Distant Seasons” felt missing — especially the opener and the closer. Even if the band hadn’t wanted to delve further into the atmospheric parts of “Fires in the Dark” or the spoken LP-centerpiece “Utgardr,” there was plenty more to work from. Maybe they didn’t want to give everything away ahead of the actual release. Maybe between the pandemic and the sundry other manifestations of chaos this brutal year has wrought the band hasn’t even had the opportunity to get the other songs ready for the stage. Certainly possible. Maybe they figured by the third streaming show everyone would be tired of them? I don’t know.

Iver Sandøy

But either way, Help With College Essays as a Tool to Achieve Success in Getting College Degree. Our company has been operating on the market of custom-writing services for many Enslaved have 15 records, so it’s not like they couldn’t have filled out the set if they chose to do so. As it was, they wrapped up playing and the camera followed as they adjourned upstairs for some conversation (in Norwegian) and cake and champagne to celebrate the release.  do-my-assignment-australia. Sustainable Development Phd Thesis. As the pressure and stress of preparing numerous assignments mounts, have you ever wondered, is Kjellson,  Essay help online from professional writers with Bachelor and Master's degrees. http://www.museum-vilsbiburg.de/?english-102-research-paper-topicss are ready to complete any kind of paper. Available 24/7. Vinje, Free math lessons and best site from basic math to algebra, geometry and beyond. Students, teachers, parents, and everyone can find solutions to Sandøy, guitarists Ivar Bjørnson and Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal all shook hands and tossed back some wine, and then the camera cut to Bjørnson on his own, who revealed the band were planning something for the winter solstice — Dec. 20 — and thanked everyone for their support. After that, they capped with encore airings of “The Crossing” from the Below the Lights stream and “Fenris” from 1994’s Frost as played in ‘Chronicles of the Northbound.’

Welcome enough, if a little anticlimactic despite the news-drop that they’ve got something else in the works. It was hard not to come away from ‘Utgard – The Journey Within’ wanting more, and now that I say that outright, perhaps that was the idea all along. Less of a celebration of the release than a teaser, maybe. Highlighting the tracks that have been released as singles — “Jettegryta,” “Homebound” and “Urjotun” all have videos out (posted here) — and giving just a glimpse of a deeper dive into the album with “Flight of Thought and Memory.” If that’s what they were going for, then fair enough. One way or the other, it’s hard not to long for the day Enslaved can be experienced live again in a concert setting — 2021? 2022? ever? — and the vital force of their stage presence and command of their creativity was reaffirmed. Was it ever in doubt? Nope, but like I said, I ain’t complaining.

enslaved handshakes

I watched this with my son, The Pecan, who turns three next month. He knows “quiet songs” and “loud songs” and generally prefers the latter when we’re driving, and he’s interested in seeing guitars and drums on tv and whatnot. My wife, The Patient Mrs., was teaching a college class in other room, working remotely. I changed a poopy diaper during “Urjotun” and he played with trucks for a while as he will these days when blowing off what used to be afternoon naptime. The point of telling you this? It goes to the running theme of life-reorganization that one has found without the actual going-to-a-show ritual.

Perhaps the crucial insight that there’s a big difference between putting something on the television and entering a venue to see a band live isn’t particularly deep, but if anything, the advent of streaming shows like this and the multitudes now happening from around the world demonstrate how important to the core of people’s being creativity is and needs to be. If you’re passionate about something, you find a way. It’s not easy, and always ideal, and sometimes it doesn’t turn out to be what you thought it was going to be when you started. Welcome to existence. But you find a way. This is the way for now. Fine.

Enslaved are participating in a follow-up Q&A session at 2PM Eastern today on their YouTube channel, linked below. Utgard is available now on Nuclear Blast.

Thanks for reading.

Enslaved, ‘Utagard – The Journey Within’ limited-time stream

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Album Review: Enslaved, Utgard

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

enslaved utgard

Few bands last. Fewer still last while maintaining their commitment to creative progression, and Bergen, Norway’s Enslaved have pushed themselves forward once again with Utgard in broad-reaching and exciting ways. The album is their sixth to be delivered through Nuclear Blast, and as the band approach their 30th anniversary in 2021, they seem to enter an entirely new era of their sound, more boldly engaging with the krautrock and prog influences they’ve touted for years and bringing them into their long-established extreme metal context.

The founding duo of bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson and guitarist/sometimes backing vocalist Ivar Bjørnson, along with Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal, who joined in 2002, have set the band on a trajectory over the course of their career, and Utgard — which runs nine songs and 44 minutes, making it the shortest full-length they’ve put out since 1998’s Blodhemn — is a fitting next step along their path. At the same time, from the choral vocals that start opener “Fires in the Dark” and running through the additional percussion in “Jettegryta,” the almost poppy melody in the hook of “Sequence” offset delightfully by Kjellson‘s rasp, the darkened space rock thrust of “Homebound” and the galloping culmination to which it leads, on and on across the clearly-delineated two sides of the LP, Utgard also sees Enslaved more committed to embodying “progressive black metal” as an ideal than they would ever have seemed to be, and it toys with the balance between the progressive and the charred with grace and an electrifying sense of creativity.

On 2017’s E (review here), the group introduced keyboardist HĂĽkon Vinje, and in taking up the clean-vocal role formerly occupied by Herbrand Larsen, Vinje soared. He does so again throughout Utgard, but Enslaved have made another pivotal change in personnel, bidding farewell to drummer Cato Bekkevold after 15 years and bringing aboard Iver Sandøy, who also adds clean vocals to complement those of Vinje. Sandøy — who has worked with Ivar Bjørnson in other projects like his SkuggsjĂĄ collaboration with Einar Selvik — is also a noted producer in Bergen and has engineered on Enslaved albums going back a decade to 2010’s Axioma Ethica Odini (review here), but again, by bringing him into the band as well as having him helm the recording, it is one more way in which Enslaved are adjusting the balance of what they do in order to discover new breadth in their aesthetic.

As the “new guys,” Vinje and Sandøy make formidable contributions to Utgard‘s songs, and from the lushness in the momentary atmospheric break of “Sequence” and the harmonies that follow to the unabashed kraut-ness of the electronica fusion at the outset of side B’s “Urjotun,” they are crucial in Enslaved‘s success across the record’s span.

It is worth underscoring that, even with the shifts in lineup that recent years have brought, and with the movement toward prog in their sound, Utgard is still very much an Enslaved record. Kjellson stakes his claim to the forefront early following the Viking chants at the outset of “Fires in the Dark” — one imagines them playing that song in open air to stirring effect to begin a set at the 2020 Fire in the Mountains festival in Wyoming, which Bjørnson was to have curated — and themes of heritage, mythology, and even the symbolism of the crow in Truls Espedal‘s cover art feel like a part of the longer narrative the band has been conveying at some level for nearly the last 20 years.

enslaved

What Utgard shows, however, is just how vast the idea of being “an Enslaved record” can be nearly 30 years into the band’s career. The droning, spoken-word semi-title-track “Utgardr” carries an experimental feel that builds into “Urjotun” and reminds of Bjørnson‘s Bardspec project, and just two songs later, the furious double-kick and harsh vocals in the verse of “Flight of Thought and Memory” offer one of Utgard‘s most pummeling moments. That’s soon offset by Vinje‘s extended chorus, but the point and the contrast holds true, and even as they move toward that highlight cut’s crescendo, they do so with exacting propulsion, leading to a quieter finish and silence ahead of “Storms of Utgard” and the finale “Distant Seasons,” the former marked out by its straight-ahead structural approach as well as its tambourine and the latter something of a hidden gem that seals the band’s ultimate triumph in a mere four and a half minutes.

“Distant Seasons” finishes not so much summarizing Enslaved‘s achievements across the preceding tracks, but using them as a preface to go even further into a wash of melody and thereby leave their listenership with the clear message that the journey — that undertaken by the band and joined by the audience — isn’t over yet. And indeed, it might not be. The ideal Enslaved are chasing on Utgard is not a static target. It is an evolving notion of creativity, and as much as these songs are able to do in setting themselves as a landmark, “Distant Seasons” leaves one assured that Enslaved have yet more exploring to do.

The advent of Vinje in the band was a significant distinguishing factor of E from recent predecessors like 2015’s In Times (review here) and 2012’s Riitiir (review here), as he bolstered the tenets of their sound and helped bring new ideas to the fore. Sandøy, as a drummer, backing vocalist and presence in the production, would seem to have no less of an effect throughout Utgard, and as a result, continue to sound refreshed. It would be hyperbole to say they come across like a new band — because, come on, it’s their 15th record; also one wouldn’t want to belittle either their experience as songwriters or the overarching nature of their progression — but as resonant and masterful as Utgard is, it’s also brimming with possibilities for how the new ideas it presents might flourish in works to come.

Few bands last. Fewer still last while growing. Almost nobody can look back on 30 years of breaking ground and still leave a listener with the notion that the best may be yet to come. Enslaved have been around long enough that their audience can pick and choose favorite albums from along the way, but Utgard is a singular accomplishment, and thinking of the band as a life’s work for Kjellson and Bjørnson, all the more worthy of that designation. Recommended.

Enslaved, “Urjotun” official video

Enslaved, “Jettegryta” official video

Enslaved, “Homebound” official video

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Enslaved Change Date for Utgard – The Journey Within Streaming Event

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

enslaved

I’m listening to the new Enslaved album for the first time as I write this and they’re barely three minutes into it before they reaffirm both the brutality and the progressivism at heart on their sound. Seriously, I’m on track one and they sound like they wilfully constructed the lineup to bring the most out of this material. I’m impatient to hear more even as I’m hearing it.

The band has rescheduled the final date of their virtual tour to Oct. 1, the day before the album comes out on Nuclear Blast. Fair enough. They’ll play songs from the record to herald its arrival. Whatever dudes, just take my money.

Check out the preview video with bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson and the prominently displayed vinyl of the second Lennon-Claypool Delirium album. That record ruled.

From the PR wire:

ENSLAVED VIRTUAL TOUR UPDATE

ENSLAVED ANNOUNCE NEW DATE FOR SUMMER BREEZE ‘UTGARD – THE JOURNEY WITHIN’ RELEASE EVENT + LIVE Q&A

NEW ALBUM, UTGARD, OUT OCTOBER 2ND

RELEASE EVENT: OCTOBER 1ST @ 11AM PT/2PM ET
Q&A: OCTOBER 2ND @ 11AM PT/2PM ET

Enslaved are preparing for the final act of their Cinematic Summer Tour – now due to take place on Thursday 1st of October at 7pm BST / 8pm CEST. This virtual release event ‘Utgard – The Journey Within’ is named after their upcoming studio album Utgard (out on the 2nd of October), from which they’ll be performing several tracks for the first time ever.

The show is a collaboration with respected DinkelsbĂźhl, Germany metal festival Summer Breeze who have been long-time friends and supporters of the band. The performance will be presented by Louder alongside their sister sites Prog and Metal Hammer, who will also be hosting an exclusive Facebook Q&A with the band the following day also at 7pm BST / 8pm CEST – the day Utgard is revealed to the world.

Enslaved launched an exclusive merchandise range to accompany the Cinematic Summer Tour, with designs viewable below inc. more information. To give everyone the chance to be part of this completely novum in music, all three shows will be free of charge, however Enslaved have launched a donation link if fans wish to make a contribution towards the costs of putting the shows on.
Donation link: paypal.me/enslavedofficial

Purchase exclusive Cinematic Summer Tour merch here:
US store enslaved.aisamerch.com / EU store enslaved.aisamerch.de

For this forward-thinking concept, ENSLAVED joined forces with three festivals, to present fans with three different shows:

July 30th – in cooperation with Roadburn, the tour launched with a “Chronicles Of The Northbound” show.
August 20th – this second show was a “Below The Lights” set, presented by Beyond The Gates festival.
October 1st – the band will end their virtual tour at Summer Breeze festival with a presentation of some new songs, for their release event “Utgard – The Journey Within“. Presented by Louder.

Enslaved is:
Ivar Bjørnson – guitar
Grutle Kjellson – vocals/bass
Ice Dale – guitar
HĂĽkon Vinje – keys/vocals
Iver Sandøy – drums

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Enslaved Post “Urjotun” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

enslaved urjotun

It does not take Enslaved all that long to upend decades of listener expectation with the latest single from the upcoming Utgard LP, which is set to release on Oct. 2. That’s one month from tomorrow, and as we move into the period of time whereby it begins to cause me physical pain that I’ve not yet heard the album in its entirety, “Urjotun” does precious little to quell the yearning. The Norwegian progressive black metallers wholeheartedly embrace their krautrock side in the four-minute track — even before reading the press release below, my first thought when I heard the initial keyboard line was “Kraftwerk” — and with lyrics about the cosmic birth of gods, it’s a fittingly weirded-out and somehow-grand backdrop for what plays through.

You’ll note in the image above that the crow that has featured in other recent Enslaved videos “Homebound” (posted here) and “Jettegryta” (posted here) — as well as on the cover of Utgard itself — makes an appearance, and “Urjotun” is further enhanced by the artwork of one Kim Holm, with whom it has been my absolute pleasure to work in the past at Roadburn in the Netherlands. Dude is maddeningly talented and his art fits smoothly the atmosphere of this track. I may have missed posting it before, but I wanted to make sure to put the tracklisting for Utgard here as well, because now that there are three songs out from the record — the band will also play it live in a streamed show on Sept. 30 — it’s a little more possible to get a sense of the shape of the whole release. I’m intensely curious as to what “Urjotun” leads to in “Flight of Thought and Memory” and “Storms of Utgard,” but then, I’m intensely curious pretty much as to the entire album.

Clip follows here, along with preorder links and more info from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Enslaved, “Urjotun” official video

From the new ENSLAVED album ‘UTGARD’, out on October 2nd: https://nblast.de/Enslaved-Utgard. Subscribe to Nuclear Blast YouTube: http://nblast.de/NBytb / Subscribe to Enslaved YouTube: http://bit.ly/subs-enslavd-yt

Norway’s premier progressive black metallers Enslaved have today released third single ‘Urjotun’ from their upcoming studio album Utgard – out October 2nd via Nuclear Blast. The single, one of their most experimental yet, is accompanied by a psychedelic video detailing dark visions and a journey to the outer reaches of the subconscious.

Vocalist Grutle Kjellson commented:
“The lyrical idea for Urjotun had been spinning around in the chaos in the back of my head for quite a while, when Ivar sent me the riff-demo last autumn. I knew instantly that this was it, the very soundtrack of the rise of the primeval giant, the Urjotun! Our mutual love and fascination for that early krautrock scene and for bands like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk, finally fully ascended in an Enslaved song, almost 30 years after we picked up those legendary kraut-albums. It’s funny, that in Germany they referred to this kind of music as “Kosmische Musik”, cosmic music! And, that is exactly what this song is about; cosmic chaos. On top of this, director David Hall, made a perfect projection and visualization of our troubled minds”

Produced and Directed by David Hall
Illustrations by Den Unge Herr Holm
Actor: Kelsey Watkinson

Utgard tracklisting:
1. Fires In The Dark
2. Jettegryta
3. Sequence
4. Homebound
5. Utgardr
6. Urjotun
7. Flight Of Thought And Memory
8. Storms Of Utgard
9. Distant Seasons

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Stream Review: Enslaved, ‘Chronicles of the Northbound,’ 07.30.20

Posted in Reviews on July 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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I kind of rolled my eyes last month when Norwegian progressive black metallers Enslaved announced their ‘Cinematic Summer Tour,’ but from the sweeping ambient camera shots that launched the proceedings of the Roadburn-presented ‘Chronicles of the Northbound’ hour-long set to the sense of ceremony with which they wrapped up “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” chanting over acoustic guitar, the emphasis indeed was on a cinematic feel. Visually and aurally, this was a produced affair — far from the rawness that some live streams shoot for — much more of a concert film. They may have played the songs live, but it was a live stream premiere rather than a live show happening at the moment it aired, though as the long-running Bergen, Norway, five-piece tore through the fan-selected setlist, it was hard not to be blown away anyhow by the force of the show they put on.

One has to think it helps that drummer Iver Sandøy is a noted music producer in terms of the sound captured. Bassist/founder Grutle Kjellson‘s telltale rasp came through with a studio-quality fullness that was a close match to some of what Enslaved have done on their albums, and in addition to apparently being the kind of percussionist who can tear into blastbeats on “Fenris” from 1994’s sophomore outing, Frost, Sandøy — who joined the band in 2018 — periodically added harmonies to the clean vocals of keyboardist HĂĽkon Vinje, who made his debut enslavedwith Enslaved on 2017’s E (review here) and only sounded more integrated in the band on the older material here. Vinje and Sandøy quickly brought a marked sense of presence to “Ethica Odini” from 2010’s Axioma Ethica Odini (review here) at the start of the set, and Vinje‘s and Kjellson‘s subsequent handling of the chorus to “Roots of the Mountain” was likewise a soaring early highlight that preceded the more dug-in vibes of “Fenris” and “793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne),” the latter epic taken from 1997’s Eld.

The live chat on the YouTube feed, which gives one an odd sense of togetherness while watching something like this, blew up at that point. People had been well on board with “Fenris” and the organ that kept it in line with the more recent, progressive fare surrounding, but when “793” hit, there was a palpable sense of digitally-expressed joy and copious exclamation points. Well earned on the band’s part, twisting through the various stretches of that track before bringing things back to ground with the landmark title-cut of 2004’s Isa; the song that made black metal swing and the album that set Enslaved on the proggier path they’ve spent the last 16 years marching. The placement of its hook after the more expansive “793” was a clever way to snag wandering or otherwise hypnotized attentions, and the keys running alongside the guitars of Ivar Bjørnson and Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal sounded incredible. Really. I took notes of the setlist while watching, and next to “Isa” I wrote: “keys sound incredible.” I stand by it.

It was a little bit of a bummer not to hear anything off the forthcoming Utgard album that Nuclear Blast will release on Oct. 2 — they’ve put out videos thus far for “Homebound” (posted here) and “Jettegryta” (posted here) — and having asked to hear the record in advance and been shut down for not being cool enough, twice as much so. Still, Enslaved will wrap the cinematic tour with a full performance of the album on Sept. 30 co-presented by the Summer Breeze Festival, so they’ll take care of it one way or the other, and I found no argument with the fan-picked songs they played. “The Watcher,” which caps 2008’s Vertebrae, is one of few pieces that could hope to follow “Isa” and not stand in its shadow in terms of chorus grandiosity, and as they tore through it — again with Vinje making his presence felt — and shifted into “Death in the Eyes of Dawn,” I suddenly realized just how quickly the stated hour of the set was proceeding.

Taken from 2012’s Riitiir (review here), “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” enabled the band to express many of the strengths of their current incarnation. After the memorable “Isa” and “The Watcher,” “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” unfolded with a more progressive feel, still keeping extremity at its core, but allowing room for Sandøy to return on harmonies with Vinje, and finding Isdal moving to acoustic for the Viking-folk finish already noted. Along the way, the various turns and executions were sharply brought to bear and the band as a whole handled the song with the poise of the established masters they are. In reality, one could hardly have expected less. I could’ve done with more shots of Sandøy at work, but that might just be curiosity as well to see what “the new guy” is up to behind the kit. The final setlist:

“Ethica Odini”
“Roots of the Mountain”
“Fenris”
“793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne)”
“Isa”
“The Watcher”
“Death in the Eyes of Dawn”

Though the presentation style was something of a surprise, the manner in which Enslaved proceeded through that set brought a live enslaved pretend tourshow’s intensity to such outright professional smoothness, making for a showcase worthy of the scope of 20-plus years the band wound up covering. For those seeking a rawer take from Enslaved, I might suggest their 2017 offering, Roadburn Live (review here), recorded in 2015 when Bjørnson curated alongside Wardruna‘s Einar Selvik. That was Enslaved‘s first official live release, and it was before either Vinje or Sandøy were in the band — between the two of them, they simply bring the melodic reach to a new level — but I wouldn’t be surprised either if this ‘Chronicles of the Northbound’ set showed up as a live album either, or a BluRay/video download or some such kind of A/V outing. While the quality of the product was outstanding for a live stream, frankly, to have it end there seems like a waste of material, even with the special merch they’ve made available.

As one looks forward to the arrival of Utgard this Fall, and mourns the actual-touring Enslaved won’t get to do to herald its coming, the start of their cinematic tour was a refresher on just how far the band has pushed their sound and their live chemistry and how — as they approach 30 years from their founding by Bjørnson and Kjellson in 1991 — they only continue to grow and evolve.

Enslaved‘s cinematic tour continues on Aug. 20 playing Below the Lights in full as presented by Beyond the Gates Festival, and wraps with the aforementioned Sept. 30 rendition of Utgard presented by Summer Breeze. I’ll hope to have more on Utgard closer to the release, and thanks for reading in the meantime.

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Friday Full-Length: Enslaved, Ruun

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

My dominant memory of Enslaved during the Ruun era was — perhaps unsurprisingly — seeing them live for the first time. By Spring 2007, the Bergen, Norway, progressive black metallers were on their ninth album and had been around for 15 years, founding guitarist Ivar Bjørnson and bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson having over time built a lineup that included Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal on guitar — still with the band — as well as drummer Cato Bekkevold and keyboardist/vocalist Herbrand Larsen. Ruun was their second full-length to receive US distribution and promotion through Candlelight Records in the US behind 2004’s Isa, which introduced Larsen to the fold and in so doing brought a major change in the band’s sound on both fronts. Surely, Enslaved had been pushing in a more progressive direction for several years at that point, with records like 2000’s Mardraum: Beyond the Within, 2001’s Monumension and 2003’s Below the Lights showcasing an increasing breadth of influence, but employing a full-time keyboardist and clean vocalist to complement Kjellson‘s signature rasp was a significant step. It began to show just how much on Isa, but it was with Ruun that the complexity really came to fruition in the songwriting.

Enslaved did not have to forsake their black metal origins in order to take on more stylistic range — they simply added to what was already there. Thus Ruun still has its raging stretches, whether it’s the beginning charge of “Fusion of Sense and Earth,” the later twists of “Api-Vat” or even the opener “Entroper,” which seems to spend its six-plus minutes building to this massive swell of scream-topped push, but ultimately cedes the apex to Larsen, signaling the evolution taking place in Enslaved‘s approach. With backing growls from Bjørnson behind Kjellson‘s verse lines, even a riffer like “Path to Vanir” demonstrates an uptick in the depth of the arrangements, as Enslaved were able to bring a wash to their sound as they’d only hinted toward since bringing in their first keyboardist, Øyvind Madsen (Vulture Industries), in 2002. Still, it’s with vocals that Larsen was able to make the greatest impact on the band, and in the break of “Path to Vanir,” he shows how. His voice is somewhat tentative and would grow more confident over time, but the softness of his singing style and the contrast it brought to the blackened churn surrounding helped make Enslaved all the more unique as they reached beyond the bounds of genre traditionalism.

This was also a band who knew the power of a riff. “Fusion of Sense and Earth” remains a hair-standing-on-end catalog highlight for the band — it’s one of the best songs they’ve ever written. Moving from its Enslaved Ruunheadbang-ready thrash, it opens wide to release tension first in a pre-chorus transition led by keys, then shifts through growls to an instrumental hook that is the stuff from which air-drumming legends are made, the double-kick intricately keeping up with the nuances of Bjørnson‘s riff as the lead enters and the band rightly rides that groove to oblivion. That’s hardly the only instance on Ruun of standout riffage, as the title-track subsequently reminds, with its outright departure for prog rock, back and forth clean and harsh vocals and heavy-in-spite-of-itself rhythm; a precision of chug that still marks them as extreme metal, but is decidedly outside of the black metal norm. They bring it around, but “Ruun” ultimately resolves in a wash that includes acoustic strum, and it’s built around that initial riff with keyboards adding melodic breadth and Larsen and Kjellson coming together on vocals. “Tides of Chaos” is meaner, its chorus clean, but engulfed by screams and growls, and Kjellson coming across like he’s committing an atrocity against his vocal cords during the verses. It is demented and glorious, and pairs brilliantly with “Essence,” where the melody is more center and the call and response more direct, the band finding a middle ground that hints at what psychedelic black metal would become largely in their wake before straight-up thrashing the song into the ground, leaving “Api-Vat” to pick up the pieces and renew the sense of structure before closer “Heir to the Cosmic Seed” rounds out with a hypnotic epilogue.

The shows, which may or may not have been their first US gigs — I honestly can’t remember — were at SXSW, I think in 2007. The first was in a tent at night and the second was during the day. They may have played others — it was a long time ago and I was very intoxicated. I’m pretty sure MotĂśrhead were also on the daytime bill though, and I remember Enslaved only got to play three songs because they only had a half-hour set. “Fusion of Sense and Earth” was one of them, and there I was, headbanging outside Emo’s at like 11AM, still hungover from the night before and probably a couple beers already into the day. One did what one had to do in order to survive down there.

Soon enough, Enslaved would sign to Nuclear Blast and their touring North America would become a matter of course. 2008’s Vertebrae pushed the impulses of Ruun further, while 2010’s Axioma Ethica Odini (review here) pursued rawer fare, 2012’s Riitiir (review here) brought ferocious grandiosity, 2015’s In Times (review here) boasted their most progressive style to-date, and 2017’s E (review here) introduced new keyboardist HĂĽkon Vinje in place of Larsen and showed how yet again they were able to expand their sonic reach.

In October, Enslaved will release their 15th full-length, Utgard, through Nuclear Blast and by what I swear is pure coincidence, the band just posted today a video for the track “Jettegryta,” which is the second single taken from the album. Where the prior “Homebound” showcased the work of new drummer/vocalist Iver Sandøy, “Jettegryta” focuses more on Kjellson‘s voice and even features some clean singing from him with harmonies behind, as well as what sounds like some pointedly experimental guitar in its second half. The lesson, such as it is, is to understand just how dynamic Enslaved have become as a band, and I assume that when Utgard arrives — I’m not cool enough to have heard it in full yet — just how much it will see them revel in the multifaceted nature of their particular vision of extreme metal. Here’s that video, just for the hell of it.

Enslaved, “Jettegryta” official video

I hope you enjoy that, and Ruun as well. As always, I thank you for reading.

Enslaved is one of those bands who I can rely on to get just about no response when I write about them. They’re crazy popular, of course, but for whatever reason, every time I put something up about them, it gets about no feedback. Crickets. Rest assured, I blame my own lack of insight, but it’s true of several others as well. Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Anathema. I guess at least I’m consistent.

I wasn’t looking for privacy though in writing about Ruun, just something that I knew I’d enjoy, and really, the timing of that new video was coincidental. I didn’t even know it was up until it was pointed out to me while I was putting this post together. I’ve watched it once.

I hope you had a good week. The Patient Mrs. and I hit a really good working rhythm this week. The Pecan in daycare for the morning helped make Wednesday and Thursday easier, work-wise, but even Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, we had it pretty much down. I fed him breakfast, we went for a run every other day, and then we hung out and played and read books and all that stuff while she worked in the morning, then I picked up after that and worked while she kept him for lunch and into his afternoon nap. She was able to get some research work done, I was able to do the Quarterly Review — which, again, thankfully, was a breeze full of good records — and we both kept our heads reasonably above water.

Of course, it was only a couple posts per day, but I was glad to do stuff like that Crystal Spiders premiere, hosting the Swarm of Flies track and that Candlemass review, which was worth it solely to get a comment from an old friend who I haven’t seen in a long time.

Need to catch up on email and messages this weekend, which will take some doing, and I’m going to review the Forlesen album for Monday, which is a little bit of brilliant. Tuesday a premiere from TOOMS, Wednesday a special feature I’m very much looking forward to putting together, and Thursday, a video premiere from The Brothers Keg. Friday, I’ll review that YOB live record they did to benefit the Navajo Nation Covid Relief Fund. Here’s a preview: “Duh. YOB are great. Great great great great. Duh.”

Seven bucks well spent on that, either way, and I love that music isn’t existing in a vacuum.

New Gimme show. You know the drill. 5PM. http://gimmeradio.com

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I wish you good fun and the utmost safety. I let The Patient Mrs. go into Whole Foods yesterday, which was a little nerve-racking, even though it’s a new store so everything is well spaced out. In a few minutes I’ll split out and head to Coscto on my own. That place is like a free-for-all, so yeah. I told her maybe next year on that one. She’s apparently going back to campus to work in August though, which will be interesting.

But hey, almost 60,000 cases of COVID-19 yesterday, huh? Anyone tired of all that winning yet?

Alright, time to put on my mask and go buy a block of cheddar cheese. Oh, and apparently we’re getting a puppy this weekend?

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Enslaved Announce Streaming Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Enslaved at Roadburn (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Enslaved have announced what they’re calling a ‘cinematic summer tour’ to herald the arrival this Fall of their new album, Utgard. Finally, your chance to say, “I wasn’t there, and neither were you.” I can’t wait to see the merch. As long as I don’t have to wait in line to get it, I’m cool.

Hey, we’re all just trying to get through, right? These are weird times, and even as the rest of the world is recovering, the US is still a shitshow. I’ll take Enslaved however it comes. Streaming? Fine. Saves me a ride to Gramercy Theater.

I wonder if I could pitch Enslaved on doing a “secret” show for this site, like a club gig on an off-day they don’t tell anyone about. I could be the Saint Vitus Bar of blogs, which, now that I read the words back having written them, seems far too ambitious for my never-gonna-be-that-cool ass. But hey man, I’ll watch Enslaved play a set online. It’s like a house show. Also, “Chronicles of the Northbound” is what I’m going to call it next time I’m sitting in traffic on I-95 in Connecticut.

Their video for the new single “Homebound” is below from Utgard, which out in September on Nuclear Blast:

enslaved pretend tour

ENSLAVED ANNOUNCE CINEMATIC SUMMER TOUR

ENSLAVED announce their “Cinematic Summer Tour 2020” today! After a very successful innovative streaming event on April 1st from Verftet Online Music, the Norwegian Avantgarde metal heroes decided to take it one step further to enlighten our concertless summer with a series of online events that are much more than just simple online stream concerts:

A cinematic tour experience!

For this forward-thinking concept, ENSLAVED join forces with three festivals to present their fans three different shows:

In cooperation with Roadburn, the tour starts July 30th, with the “Chronicles Of The Northbound” show. Fans will be invited by the festival to choose their favorite ENSLAVED songs to create a career spanning set. The second show will be a “Below The Lights” set on August 20th, presented by Beyond The Gates festival.

The band will end their virtual tour at the Summer Breeze festival on September 30th, with the presentation of their new album in its entirety: “Utgard – The Journey Within“.

Guitarist Ivar states:
“‘We must stick apart’ is a proverb of Discordianism (a religion I might or might not have just made up) that might fit the situation we are all in now. We are all isolated in various degrees; and we all miss live music. So, we have stuck apart and with our fantastic team of super-people in management, label and booking, plus three of our best friends who happen to be the very creme de la creme of European Festivals; we are now able to present this digital festival-tour. We are already hard at work preparing sets and shows that will make this one for the (e-)books. Thank you for your support, faith in us and patience – to have fans like you is an absolute privilege. See you in the ether!”

Each event will be accompanied by different side happenings, on which more light will be shed with each individual event announcement!

Watch it on the Enslaved YouTube channel!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpiAJxyAbGPC2FngeSzlrzQ

To give everyone the chance to be part of this completely novum in music business, all three shows will be free of charge. There will be a donation option and special merch for the “Cinematic Summer Tour”.

Enslaved is:
Ivar Bjørnson – guitar
Grutle Kjellson – vocals/bass
Ice Dale – guitar
HĂĽkon Vinje – keys/vocals
Iver Sandøy – drums

http://www.facebook.com/enslaved
https://www.instagram.com/enslavedofficial
http://www.enslaved.no/
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
http://instagram.com/nuclearblastusa

Enslaved, “Homebound” official video

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 35

Posted in Radio on May 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Digging deep on some of this stuff, and I like that. I mean, yeah, you’ve probably heard Enslaved and Lowrider by now, and maybe Black Rainbows, but stuff like Burning Brain Band, Jointhugger and King Gorm could be new to you. I hope so anyhow, that’s why I picked the tracks. That and I thought they were cool. Pretty simple process when it comes down to it.

I did the voice tracks for this one while my son played (first) with kinetic sand and (then) on the piano, so that’s kind of a mess, but I’ve come to enjoy that and it’s a good show either way. If you manage to check it out, stick around for the end, because the last two songs, the long ones from Dire Wolves and Stonegrass, are absolutely killer. I was recently put onto both records and I have absolutely zero regrets. Cardinal Fuzz put out the Dire Wolves LP in April and Stonegrass is out through Cosmic Range Records in Toronto digitally now with LP to follow. Both albums are worth your time if you have the time.

And as always, thanks for listening if you do.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmeradio.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 05.29.20

Circle of Sighs Kukeri Salo*
Lamp of the Universe The Eastern Run Dead Shrine*
Lowrider Pipe Rider Refractions*
BREAK
Enslaved Homebound Utgard*
Wren Seek the Unkindred Groundswells*
StoneBirds Only God Collapse and Fail*
Jointhugger I Am No One I Am No One*
Saavik He’s Dead Jim Saavik*
Black Rainbows Hypnotized by the Solenoid Cosmic Ritual Supertrip*
The Burning Brain Band Bolero/Float Away The Burning Brain Band*
King Gorm Beyond Black Rainbow King Gorm*
BREAK
Dire Wolves Flow & Heady / By the Fireside Flow and Heady*
Stonegrass Tea Stonegrass*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is June 12 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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