Archive for Norwegian black metal

Enslaved reveal details about thirteenth studio release

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 15th December 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Norwegian progressive black metal horde Enslaved have finally revealed details about their thirteenth studio album, In Times, which will be released in the UK on 9th March 2015 via Nuclear Blast. Hand-painted artwork is by long-time collaborating artist and “sixth Enslaved member” Truls Espedal.

Enslaved guitarist & composer Ivar Bjørnson shares the following about the band’s latest creation:

I was so deep into the songs and ideas for such a long time (or have my head so far up my own ass, if you prefer more direct language) that it is hard to have any ‘opinions’ about them that is anything else than the high-flying mumbo-jumbo of the introvert song-smith.  The songs are extensions of my inner and outer life, the thoughts I am aware of having, as well as those that lie too deep to register in everyday consciousness.  The songs are the resounds of grandiose altered states and mundane tiny micro-events.  In addition, they are, of course, also the result of inspiration from other music and art.  I do think this new album is the most consistent body of work we have so far: It incorporates our ‘blacker’ past with our influences from prog rock, our present sense of absolute freedom, and the joy of being in this band, if that makes any sense… Ha, ha, ha.  It is higher in energy, more aggressive, yet more beautiful and subtle.  It simply sounds inspired.

The track list for In Times is as follows:

01 – Thurisaz Dreaming
02 – Building With Fire
03 – One Thousand Years Of Rain
04 – Nauthir Bleeding
05 – In Times
06 – Daylight

The new album’s total running time is fifty-three minutes.

Main recordings for In Times took place at Duper Studios to Solslottet Studio in Bergen, Norway with additional recordings sessions at Conclave & Earshot Studios (presided over by Enslaved members Larsen and Ice Dale), and Ivar Bjørnson’s Personal Sound Studios.  Additional experimentation and sonic exploration was conducted deep in the woods of Valevåg south of Bergen where a mobile studio recorded additional sounds.

In Times was produced by band members Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson and Herbrand Larsen together with Iver Sandøy.  Mixing was completed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden.

Enslaved will play Bloodstock Open Air next Summer held in Catton Park, 6th-9th August.

Enslaved online:

http://enslaved.no
http://facebook.com/enslaved

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Mayhem announce headlining European tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 18th March 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Legends and royalty of the Norwegian black metal scene Mayhem have announced a headlining tour of Europe which will take place in May. The tour, which celebrates 30 years of Mayhem, will kick off in Hamburg’s famous Markthalle before heading through ten countries and concluding in Denmark’s capital of København (Copenhagen) at Pumpehuset. The tour dates are as follow:

14th May – Hamburg (DE) @ Markthalle
16th May – Bochum (DE) @ Matrix
17th May – Köln (DE) @ Essigfabrik
18th May – Eindhoven (NL) @ Effenaar
20th May – Bruxelles (BE) @ AB
21st May – London (GB) @ Electric Ballroom
22nd May – Paris (FR) @ Le Divan du Monde
23rd May – Winterthur (CH) @ Gaswerk
24th May – Milan (IT) @ Factory
26th May – Bratislava (SK) @ Randal
27th May – München (DE) @ Backstage Club
28th May – Berlin (DE) @ C-Club
29th May – Warsaw (PL) @ Proxima
30th May – Plzen (CZ) @ Metalfest Open Air Festival
31st May – København (DK) @ Pumpehuset
8th August – Øya (NO) @ Tøyenparken (Øya Festival)

Mayhem online:

http://facebook.com/mayhemofficial

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Sulphur – Thorns In Existence [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Sulphur
Album: Thorns in Existence
Release year: 2011
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Sulphur, who formed from the ashes of nineties black metal band “Taakeriket” and are made up of ex-members of Gorgoroth, Aeternus and Enslaved, have been a fierce, dominating force to be reckoned with in the Norwegian metal scene. Following a few years of laying dormant, Sulphur are back and fiercer than ever with “Thorns In Existence”.

”Revelations” begins with an eerie yet cheesy keyboard introduction, the kind that would be heard in a low-budget horror film. The guitars and drums, while greatly composed, are lighter and more melodic than expected. “True Father Of Lies” follows after, continuing from where “Revelations” finished. The guitars are less melodic and focus more on violent riffs, whilst the drums favour an aggressive approach as well. The vocals are ruthless and unrelenting, keeping the track beastly and heavy. A huge improvement from the first track “Revelations”, though the keyboard section on this track has a hint of cheesiness.

“The Purifying Flame” begins with a very creepy set of sound effects which are soon replaced by ferocious guitar riff and a brutalising drum pattern. The vocals, again are ruthless sounding, unrelenting in their aggression throughout most of the track. The strained whisper-like vocals combined with the slow guitar riff bring a new dynamic to the track. The guitar solo is most impressive, blending well with the stream of double bass pedal. The next track, “Hunting Sickening Seas” starts with a slow, brutalising and shockingly good intro. The vocals have more of a death element which mixes in well with the slow intro. There is a use of clean vocals on the track which gives it more a creepy sound. The acoustic section about half way through the track is a surprise yet a welcome break in between the storm of guitars, vocals and drums.

“Luna Noctiluca” follows after with a slow-paced, brutal and melodic guitar and drums section. The tempo increases with the introduction of the vocals. There is a contrast of clean vocals and screams, which works well with the music. The guitar solo is certainly a highlight of the track and perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about the album. “Into Nothingness” fades its way next. Even after the faded intro, the track seems weak and soft. In some sections, the vocals sound odd and the drums are semi-audible. in the same way it began, it fades out, making way for “Inverted Visions of Eternal Salvation”. It begins with a half-muted intro which soon turns beasty and aggressive. The drum work is intelligent, whilst the guitars are masterfully played and composed. The vocals are still going strong, working well with the synth sections. The track ends on a very creepy note.

“Ravner Beiter I Banesår”, which roughly translated means “Ravens pastures in his death-wounds”, blasts its way next, turning up the level of violence and brutality. The vocals are more slow-paced compared to the guitars and drums, though just as beastly and savage. There are some melodic riff use in one or two sections of the track, which is a pleaser for those who prefer melody over brutality. The track ends with a dramatic symphonic section. “Throne of Illusion” is the second to last track, beginning with a ghastly synth riff, similar to one found in a previous track. The guitars and drums that follow are nothing short of violent, savage and barbaric. The vocals have the bloodthirsty sound to them, as is to be expected. The breakdown towards the end is extremely unexpected however brings a whole new level to both the track and the album.

“A Crimson Line” is the final track of the album. The introductory riff is similar to one found on a Lamb of God album, only with more bite. The brutality and melody contrasts and blends brilliantly and the vocals are still going stronger, perhaps stronger than what they have been for the rest of the album. The use of keyboards and drums only on part of the track is just pure genius. “A Crimson Line” is certainly one of the best tracks on the album.

It’s easy to see why Sulphur have been a dominating force in the Norwegian metal scene. “Thorns In Existence” combines the best of black metal and death metal and mixed in a vast amount of musical genius and talent. This is certainly one of the best albums to come out of Norway since the early days of the Norwegian black metal scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Helheim – Heiðindómr ok mótgangr [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 18th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Helheim
Album: Heiðindómr ok mótgangr
Release year: 2011
Genre: Black Metal/Viking Metal

Helheim, named after the world in Norse mythology, are one of Norway’s oldest and most revered Viking Black Metal bands. “Heiðindómr ok mótgangr”  is the follow up to their mini album “Asgard’s Fall” which was released last year. “Heiðindómr ok mótgangr” has been described as their most grand, epic and monumental release to date so far. It is also the first Helheim album since 1999 to feature only Norwegian lyrics.

The album begins with the slow and brutalising guitar intro of “Viten Og Mot (Sindighet)”, which is mixed in with some French horn, making for a dramatic yet violent introductory track. The guitar riff that follows is lighter but more fast paced. The drums are also fast paced but are weak compared to the vocals. In some sections, the French horn overpowers the guitars which is disappointing. The vocals, however, are just as they are expected to be – Aggressive, bloodthirsty and grim. The use of a guitar solo does slightly improve the track, though not by much. The other major issue with this track is that it’s too long and repetitive for the most part. The use of clean vocals is surprising though it doesn’t do much for the track. It is not a great start for the album.

”Dualitet Og Ulver” comes next, beginning with an acoustic guitar section which is soon replaced by a violent, window-breaking guitar section accompanied by drums. The vocals are still aggressive and sounding more powerful than the previous track. The drum sections seem to have improved a fair bit as well, though they are still overpowered by the guitars and vocals in some sections. This track is a vast improvement from the previous one. “Viten Og Mot (Stolthet)” begins with a similar intro to “Viten Og Mot (Sindighet)”. The vocals are a mixture of grim, narrated styled vocals and raw, aggressive black metal screams which isn’t a great combination. The French horn makes its return on this track, bringing a doomsday atmosphere with it. Musically, this is a great track, though, vocally it leaves much to be desired.

”Maðr” begins with an intro similar to the riffs found on Helheim’s first album. The vocals sound barbaric, angry and fierce, contrasting well with the murderous and savage riffs. The drum sections sound more beastly and heavy as well. There is a slow, soft riff half way through the track which combines the use of clean vocals and grim screams, making for a perfect break between the onslaught of the guitars and drums. The next track is “Viten Og Mot (Årvåkenhet)”. Like the previous track, it begins with an old skool Helheim-styled riff topped off the demonic screaming. The drums are more vehemently played whilst the guitars have more bite. There is also a calm riff about halfway through, adding some diversity to the track. The grim and ghastly narration reappears on this track, followed by some shouting, which certainly adds a new sound to the album.

“Element” begins with a very soft and slightly melodic intro. There is a use of strained, clean vocals which ruins the track slightly. The track gradually becomes heavy, improving it vastly. However, it is one of the poorer tracks of the album. “Nauðr” follows after, beginning with a melodic yet destructive intro. The guitars and drums are fast paced, in a traditional black metal way, whilst the vocals are full of aggression and violence, as is to be expected. The rest of the track, however, is mediocre.

Nearing the end of the album, comes “Viten Og Mot (Bevissthet)”. Straight away, the heavy brutality bombards its way along with a beastly guitar section and terrifying vocals. The drums are very acute and on time, though lacking in power. There is a lighter section which takes away a lot from the track. Though when the heaviness returns to the track, it sounds so much better again. The dramatic sound of the French horn can be heard towards the end, making the track slightly more enjoyable. The final track of the album is “Helheim 8”, which begins with an acoustic intro. The French horn makes itself heard on this track as well, combined with folk-styled clean vocals. “Helheim 8” is certainly an interesting end to the album.

”Heiðindómr ok mótgangr” has its good points and its bad points and they seem to even out an awful lot. The album combined the best of Helheim’s roots with a newer sound. The combination of the two differing sounds has potential once Helheim work out how to combine the two without ruining the quality of the music too much. All in all, it is an above average album which has room for improvement.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson