Popkomm showcase profile: Enslaved

One of Norwegian metal’s flagships, Enslaved are set to tear down Berlin’s Knaack club on 14 September as part of the ‘Norwegian Metal Night’.

Enslaved 2005

A crowning of a successful career, last year’s ‘Isa’ album firmly established Enslaved as one of Norwegian metal’s most central acts. The band has been a mainstay on the Norwegian metal scene since the early 90s, and continues to set the standard for hard-hitting musical extremism.

Enslaved was formed in 1991, by Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson. Joined by drummer Trym Torsson, they did their first demo in the summer of 1992. While working with the first full length, there came a call from England, resulting in the two 1993 legendary mini albums; Enslaved-“Hordanes Land” and Emperor-“s/t”. Enslaved’s debut album “Vikingligr Veldi” was released in spring 1994. Enslaved moved their label base to French Osmose Productions, and “Frost” were released late in the 1994. Enslaved were now known outside the Black/ Extreme circles of Northern Europe. This led to the “Winter War Europe Tour ‘95”, and the first Norwegian Black/ Extreme tour ever in the US, Canada and Mexico during ’95.

Enslaved’s “Eld” saw its release in 1997.

Enslaved released an important milestone in 2000 with “Mardraum (Beyond the Within)”, which marked a turning point for the band; and sent shock waves through the Extreme Metal scene with a revolutionary experimental and innovative approach to their genre. The band kept pouring on coal, and released “Monumension” in 2001, and again the band were shocked to see the positive response to their “no rules” approach to Extreme Metal. Gigs were still being played in Norway, Europe and the States, in front of a faithful and ever increasing audience.

A new line-up were put together during and after the recording of “Below the Lights”, including old-timer Cato Bekkevold (Red Harvest founder), Arve Isdal and Herbrand Larsen. With all the changes left behind, Enslaved reached new heights with their live performance, also adding strong visual elements in the shape of video art and more. English market leader Kerrang! rewarded their Inferno 2004 performance with a full house: 5 K!’s.

The new line-up recorded ‘Isa’ during the autumn of 2004, and was released in Oct/Nov ’04 (Feb ’05 in the US). The album received raving reviews in all territories (, and put Enslaved at the very forefront of contemporary Extreme Metal. A European Tour with fellow Norsemen Vreid took place in February and March 2005. The tour was rewarded with both great reviews and great turnouts. In absentia, during the tour, Enslaved also received both the Norwegian Grammy and the independent Alarm Price for ‘Isa’. The band will appear at various festivals throughout 2005, and an trans-American tour is in the making for the end of 2005.

Line-up: Ivar Bjørnson (guitar), Grutle Kjellson (vocal & bass), Cato Bekkevold (drums), Arve Isdal (lead guitar), Herbrand Larsen (keyboard & vocal).

Enslaved play the Knaack club during the Norwegian Metal Night on 14 September.

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