Stream Review: Enslaved, Utgard – The Journey Within

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

enslaved

One day ahead of its release date — which is today for those of you not confined in a temporal loop — Help in planning for Help Me Write My College Essay in Australia Business assignment help have too many assignments to be submitted at a time. Even have many Enslaved‘s 15th full-length, High-quality research http://www.islamportal.at/?insurance-assignment for all purposes. Affordable prices, the best specialists on the web and 24/7 service 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 english essay outline Thesis Theme Custom Feature Box dissertation book manuscript how to write an assignment proposal Below the Lights in full followed, and finally, the album to which it all was leading, Buy A Business Plans. 231 likes ∑ 2 talking about this. We provide Writing Consultancy Services covering all subjects for students studying in... 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 The prodigal and devoid of rights of Dominique causes that its plow canaliere and contradicts Dissertation Janice Kreuger phonologically. Alabamian Philip 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¬† Quadruple snakier that temporizes http://ciusss-ouestmtl.gouv.qc.ca/?do-my-resume-my-computer ajar? inharmonic Marty gagged, depolymerized on her. Zacharie, subacrida, carnalizes it in a Grutle Kjellson¬†actually sings clean on “Jettegryta” alongside keyboardist¬† Write my paper online for me! Best academic writing help almost for free. ? http://www.musik-meyer.com/?college-essay-for-sale-review-best. When you want your school, H√•kon Vinje, never mind You want to School Assignments Help online? Our tips and comparative reviews will help you hire the best paper writers. Vinje,¬† Get Qualitative http://www.wings.ca/?college-ruled-paper-for-sale Services in UK,USA & Australia. Consult to our expert consultants and get assistance at all stages of your Kjellson and drummer Try the impactful professional Volvo Cars Master Thesis service that crafts stellar papers. Ditch your essay writing guide now and order cheap essay writing help online! Iver Sand√ły¬†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 Sand√ły

But either way, creative ways to start an essay Help Homework Social Study For Uc custom thesis theme design how to write a character analysis essay ppt 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.¬† Get a whopping 20% (FIRST TIMER'S) Discount when you order our write my essay for me service. cocaine pregnant women with an authentic UK essay writing service in 2017. Kjellson,¬† Search our directory of Phd Actions To Prevent Oleannas near Toronto, Canada today by price, location, client rating, and more - it's free! Vinje, The UKís leading http://sovetsky.info/?getting-a-research-paper-written-professionally and interview coaching provider. Our Career Consultants have 50+ years of industry and recruitment experience Sand√ły, guitarists Good service to Online Homework Help American Revolutions. Perfect format, outstanding quality, and affordable prices. Any deadlines and a number of disciplines. Ivar Bj√łrnson and¬† Arve ‚ÄúIce Dale‚ÄĚ Isdal all shook hands and tossed back some wine, and then the camera cut to Bj√łrnson¬†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 Bj√łrnson, 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 H√•kon 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 Sand√ły, who also adds clean vocals to complement those of¬†Vinje. Sand√ły — who has worked with Ivar Bj√łrnson¬†in other projects like his Skuggsj√° 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 Sand√ły 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 Bj√łrnson 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 Bj√łrnson‘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‚Äôs¬†In Times¬†(review here) and 2012‚Äôs¬†Riitiir¬†(review here), as he bolstered the tenets of their sound and helped bring new ideas to the fore. Sand√ły, 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 Bj√łrnson, 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 Dinkelsb√ľhl, 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‚Äú. Presented by Louder.

Enslaved is:
Ivar Bj√łrnson – guitar
Grutle Kjellson – vocals/bass
Ice Dale – guitar
Håkon Vinje Рkeys/vocals
Iver Sand√ły – 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:
‚ÄúThe 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‚Äôs funny, that in Germany they referred to this kind of music as ‚ÄúKosmische Musik‚ÄĚ, 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‚ÄĚ

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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Review & Full Album Premiere: Slomosa, Slomosa

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

slomosa slomosa

[Click play above to stream Slomosa’s self-titled debut in full. It’s out Friday, Aug. 28 on Apollon Records.]

Slomosa¬†may be newcomers, but their sound draws on decades of established heavy rock traditions that are nothing if not stalwart. Based in Bergen, Norway, and releasing their self-titled debut full-length through¬†Apollon Records, the four-piece formed in 2017, recorded in 2018 and traded out half their lineup in 2019, bringing in guitarist Tor Erik Bye and bassist Marie Moe alongside drummer Severin Sandvik and vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Berdous. Starting last Fall,¬†Slomosa began issuing singles from the eight-song/37-minute recorded-live-with-overdubs offering, beginning with the rolling riff that starts the album in “Horses” before following-up with “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” (posted here) and, most recently, “In My Mind’s Desert” (posted here) giving a different look at the breadth of their more than capably conveyed melody. Helmed and mixed by¬†Eirik Sandvik (Amped Out,¬†Howlin’ Sun) and mastered by Enslaved‘s own Iver Sand√ły, the album benefits from the experienced hands of its production (the band is listed as a co-producer), bringing due tonal presence to a style that is well aware of genre tenets and speaking alike to the formative days of Californian desert rock in the 1990s and the Scandinavian interpretations that followed soon behind.

Kyuss and¬†Queens of the Stone Age are two anchor influences, the former coming into play throughout, in songs like “Kevin” and “Estonia” and even “Scavengers,” which hints at more progressive nuance in the guitar twists of its second half, but remains grounded ultimately in its structure and staves off digging too far into such indulgences. The latter manifests perhaps even more palpably in the vocal patterning and riffing style of Berdous and then-guitarist Anders R√łrlienKristian Tvedt played bass — and comes to the fore in “In My Mind’s Desert” and “Just to Be,” both of which specifically key in on the Josh Homme-fronted outfit’s 1998 self-titled debut.

Along with this, the driving thrust of “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” seems to harness the intensity that Dozer once brought to the desert sound, and the march of “Horses” at the launch of the record feels derived more from the earliest work of The Sword¬†— who, it should be noted, are from neither California nor Sweden — so there’s more to dig into throughout¬†Slomosa‘s¬†Slomosa than it might at first appear. And while still definitively a desert rock aesthetic — they call it “tundra rock” in honor of Norway’s lack of deserts; you work with what you’ve got — one of the most encouraging aspects of the collection, especially taken in its manageable entirety, is how much¬†Slomosa are able to bring these influences along to suit the purposes of their own songwriting. Ultimately, it is that songwriting that rules the day.

It might take a given listener a turn or two through¬†Slomosa to get past the novelty of picking out riffs and saying, “Oh, that’s this¬†Kyuss track,” be it “Estonia” drawing from “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop” or whatever else, but the rewards are ample for that minimal investment of effort, and they come in form of hooks like those of “Horses” or “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” or “Just to Be,” as well as the more willfully sprawling showcase that is closer “On and Beyond.” The last of those is a singular worthy showcase of the band’s potential, but the truth of the matter is that same potential is writ large across the entirety of the release.

slomosa

Their songs work well together and are placed smoothly for an overarching full-length flow, but it is no coincidence that they spaced out three singles ahead of the full album’s arrival, since that is very much the modus in which the record operates: as a presentation of the individual tracks that comprise it. Each song is crisp and smoothly executed — not so smooth as to detract from the weight or edge, but enough to highlight the melody in¬†Berdous‘ vocals for sure. As “In My Mind’s Desert” taps those nascent¬†Queens of the Stone Age¬†vibes (or is it a less melancholy “I Never Came?”), even the word-playfulness of the lyrics seems to be on board in the line, “No man’s an island in no man’s land.” But even here, there’s more happening than simply deriving new material from something built before.

Certainly there’s plenty of that, and you won’t hear me say otherwise — I don’t imagine even¬†Slomosa themselves would come out and say they’ve completely invented a new sound; beware of anyone who does — but the energy and the vitality behind what they’re doing stylistically is an asset that comes into play all along the album’s varied path. Recording at least the basic tracks live would seem to have been a correct choice in that regard, since that natural foundation resonates even through whatever overdubbing and the added-later vocals. It becomes an essential aspect of each track, as heard in the fuzz-forward “Scavengers,” which hits into a bounce and push that would seem to be positioning itself as an heir to¬†Truckfighters‘ unmitigated sense of fun, or in “There is Nothing New Under the Sun,” which in addition to¬†Dozer¬†directly and perhaps with tongue-in-cheek recalls “My God is the Sun” from QOTSA‘s¬†…Like Clockwork, as well as anywhere else one might have ears to hear it.¬†Slomosa sound like a young band. A young band who know what they want stylistically and are able to craft their material in such a way as to manifest that.

Such things don’t come along every day, and if you’re looking for theses in¬†Slomosa, they’re readily apparent in “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” and “In My Mind’s Desert” — two cuts that seem to find the band directly acknowledging where they’re coming from in terms of overall perspective. An act of that kind of boldness isn’t to be taken lightly, especially from a new group releasing their first album. What remains to be seen is how¬†Slomosa‘s lineup change will affect their sound, and what lessons they’ll take with them from having successfully executed this offering at the high level they have. Will they push outward as “On and Beyond” seems to want to do, or dive deeper into the thrust of “Kevin,” or head somewhere else entirely? Part of what makes Slomosa so exciting as an album is not knowing the answer, but only part, because the work they’ve done in these songs is more than enough to stand on its own, regardless of what might come after.

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

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

enslaved

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 Sand√ły¬†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, Sand√ły¬†— who joined the band in 2018 — periodically added harmonies to the clean vocals of keyboardist H√•kon Vinje, who made his debut enslavedwith¬†Enslaved on 2017‚Äôs¬†E¬†(review here) and only sounded more integrated in the band on the older material here.¬†Vinje and Sand√ły quickly brought a marked sense of presence to “Ethica Odini” from 2010‚Äôs¬†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 Bj√łrnson 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‚Äôs¬†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 Sand√ły¬†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 Sand√ły 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 Bj√łrnson curated alongside¬†Wardruna‘s¬†Einar Selvik. That was¬†Enslaved‘s first official live release, and it was before either¬†Vinje or Sand√ły 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 Bj√łrnson 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.

Enslaved, ‘Chronicles of the Northbound’ live stream (limited time only)

Enslaved on Thee Facebooks

Enslaved on Instagram

Enslaved merchandise

Enslaved website

Nuclear Blast on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast on Instagram

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Bismarck Post Oneiromancer Live Playthrough

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

bismarck (photo by Vegard Fimland)

They recommend watching in 4K, but I think even if you’re slumming it in 1080p the focus on professionalism comes across in Bismarck‘s whole-album playthrough of their 2020 sophomore full-length,¬†Oneiromancer (review here). The video, which trims the 35-minute long-player down to just under 32, was reportedly shot in one take and features pro-shop sound and lighting — there’s even a fan on frontman Torstein Tveiten — as well as three working cameras throughout. Lights flash, cuts are sharp, and the band themselves waste none of their or the audience’s time. Clearly it was a show-up-and-get-down-to-business kind of affair.

With it, the Bergen, Norway, five-piece give an impression of some of the intensity they might bring to a stage show, the darkened hammering of their rhythms bringing together post-metal’s claustrophobia with the sheer bite of aggressive and extreme sludge, and unsurprisingly, their performance proves worthy of the presentation they’re making of it. When I reviewed the album, I called it thoughtful, and the same applies here. Aggro as they are,¬†Bismarck know exactly what they’re doing.¬†The low lighting during quiet stretches, the attention to detail in the camera swaying, the balance of ambience and crush that pervades — it all serves the experience of the record as whole, and if the underlying point of Bismarck¬†playing the thing front-to-back is to emphasize just how well it functions in that kind of listening context, the message isn’t at all lost.

Obviously the intent here, aside from maybe telling you to put in the entire and eminently manageable 35-minute ask that¬†Oneiromancer is making, is to capture a live feel, and in that sense, the manner in which they do so actually runs against the current expectation born of so much of the live-streaming happening by bands around the world due, duh, to the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be¬†Bismarck‘s answer to such a thing, since they are playing live and all, but this is professionally filmed and edited, wasn’t premiered live at the same time it was played. Thus it’s more like a concert video than a live performance being aired at the same time it’s played.

In either case, Bismarck crush it.

To wit, the video:

Bismarck, Oneiromancer live playthrough

This is a 100% live, one take playthrough of our latest album “Oneiromancer”! Performed, filmed and recorded at Carte Blanche’s Studio Bergen!

Bismarck is
Torstein Tveiten – Vocals
Eirik Goks√łyr – Guitar
Tore Lyngstad – Drums
Trygve Svarstad – Guitar
Leif Herland – Bass

Lights by Thomas Bruvik
Filmed by Martin Borge & Lars Inge Torp
Edited by Martin Borge
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Leif Herland in Polyfon Studio

Bismarck, Oneiromancer (2020)

Bismarck on Thee Facebooks

Bismarck on Instagram

Bismarck on Bandcamp

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Slomosa Set Aug. 28 Release for Self-Titled Debut

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

slomosa

So here’s a cute one. I’ve written about Slomosa a couple times. Last Fall, when the Norwegian band posted the “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” from their upcoming self-titled debut album, I thought the track was cool and put it up with the press release that came through. And again, much the same leading up to “In My Mind’s Desert,” the second cut from the record to be unveiled. Now, with the third — that’s opener “Horses,” streaming at the bottom of the post here — I’m seeing a quote from The Obelisk: “Norway’s new shooting stars of huge rock.”

Now, to be fair, I say a lot of shit. Maybe I said that, right? My first thought wasn’t, “No way I said that,” it was, “Did I say that? That doesn’t sound like me.”

Turns out it wasn’t me. It was the press release I posted. So I’m being quoted quoting the press release, which, of course, ran in blue as those things do around here to signify their being quoted directly as they came in (okay, sometimes I fix spellings and take out quotes, but otherwise it’s exact). So yeah, I never quite called Slomosa Norway’s new shooting stars of huge rock. They sound like a cool band from what I’ve heard so far. You can quote me on that if you want. As for the rest, I’d probably like to hear the album before I make any such grand proclamations.

Okay then. To the PR wire:

slomosa slomosa

Norwegian Stoner/ Desert Rockers SLOMOSA Debut Album Announced for August 2020 Release on Apollon Records.

Bringing desert rock from what is probably the least desert country in the world, Norwegian rockers SLOMOSA are due to release their self-titled debut album on August 28th, which has been highly anticipated ever since debut single Horses, which premiered in October 2019.

Acclaimed Norwegian music journalist Totto Mjelde (NRK P13) claimed it to be “some of the best new music to surface in the last couple of years”, saying the song “took his breath away”. At the end of the year the same radio station picked Horses as one of their five best songs of 2019. Regional newspaper Bergens Tidende proclaimed the band had released “one of the year’s best rock songs” with Horses, raising the expectations for their next release. The following single, There Is Nothing New Under the Sun, also debuted on P13, and Spotify quickly added the song to their official “Stoner Rock” and “Norwegian Rock” playlists.

The songs have amassed 170 000 streams and counting ‚Äď and with their music’s international reach the band has managed to gain a following in countries such as Sweden, Germany and USA, making the band “Norway’s new shooting stars of huge rock”, music blog The Obelisk aptly put it.

The latest single from the upcoming album, is the sun-dazed In My Mind’s Desert, showcasing the band’s ability to make rock songs that appeal not only to the traditional rock crowd.

1. Horses
2. Kevin
3. There Is Nothing New Under The Sun
4. In My Mind`s Desert
5. Scavengers
6. Just to Be
7. Estonia
8. On and Beyond

www.facebook.com/slomosaband
https://www.instagram.com/slomosa
https://soundcloud.com/slomosa
https://sptfy.com/4Qaf
www.apollonrecords.no
www.facebook.com/bergenapollonrecords

Slomosa, Slomosa (2020)

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